Lightyears Collection

The fashion house of Carven was launched in 1945 by Carmen de Tommaso. De Tommaso, born in Châtellerault, north of Poitiers, in 1909, had studied architecture and interior design at l'ecole des Beaux Arts. A petite woman — just five foot one inches tall — she had had great difficulty as a young woman finding dresses that flattered. This situation caused her mother to tell her that she would never be elegant.

Instead, de Tommaso — who renamed herself "Carven" — developed a couture house that specialized in petite woman such as herself. It is believed that she attempted to open her business in 1938 — when France was going through a difficult period — but instead her house opened immediately after the war, when France had been liberated from the occupation and the national mood was ecstatically upbeat.

Success quickly followed. Greater success was achieved overseas, particularly in Egypt, Brazil and the Far East, where many wealthy women, like herself, tended to be petite.

Her opening designs included "ma griffe" ("my mark") — her signature look which, for example, included a green and white striped summer frock. "Ma Griffe" gave it's name to her first perfume — Ma Griffe, created for her by Roure's legendary perfumer, Jean Carles.

The Carven perfume license has, since then, been passed around a bit. In 1984 it was taken by the Beecham pharmaceutical group. In 1998 the entire Carven business was acquired by the Daniel Harlant Parfumeur Createur group.

At the age of 92, Carmen de Tommaso was still involved with the business she created.

Perfumes By Carven

Ma Griffe (1946)Jean Carles 
Robe d'Un Soir (1947)  
Chasse Gardée (1950)  
Vétiver (1957)  
Eau Vive (1966)  
Monsieur Carven (1978)  
Madame Carven (1979)  
Guirlandes (1982)  
Intrigue (1986)  
Vétiver Dry (1988)  
Robe d'Un Jour (1991)  
Robe d'Un Rêve (1991)  
Robe d'Un Soir (1991)  
Carven Homme (1999)  
Variations (2000)  
Carven Couture for Men (2005)  
Carven Couture for Women (2005)  

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.