Carmen de Tommasso was born in 1909 in Chateauroux, France. She originally studied architecture then changed over to fashion design. In 1945 Madame Carven opened her fashion house at n!6, Rond Point des Champs Elysees in Paris. The address of this the head office has never changed.
She married Philippe Mallet, brother of famous architect Robert Mallet-Stevens.
Carven have much to be proud of and has built an excellent reputation over the years dressing queens, princesses and empresses not to mention the post-war stars of the screen. With the fashion side of her enterprise now well established, Carven launches her first fragrance for Women, "Ma Griffe", a flowery perfume with overtones of gardenia and jasmine. "Ma Griffe" remains to this day our most popular female perfume. The 1950's saw the development of Carven men with the first fashion collection of mens silk neckies and the launch of "Vetiver" perfume, still their most popular fragrance for men.
In 1956, her house introduced two sweater collections, which became the first in a long line of licensed products market worldwide.
Carven style was adapted for the growing airline industry of the 1960's as the Carven Uniforms division was established and catered for numerous airlines. At this stage of its evolution Carven was able to focus on the growing market for accessories with the creation of Carven Costume jewellery.
The 1970's... The development of Carven continues, both nationally and internationally, and Carven comes to the fore in Japan in 1972. Japanese women find the cut and comfort of the Carven style very much to their liking. Carven accessories and luggage are launched in Japan. Air France asks Carven to create their uniforms and French Haute Couture elegance is thus carried throughout the world. To this day, Air France personnel are still dressed by Carven, as are French Rail Staff on the new international Thalys rail link.
Carven in the 1980s developed licences for ready-to-wear and accessories for men and women throughout the globe. Carven diversified bringing out a line of golfwear for men and women as the sport gained popularity in France.
Most importantly, 1991 sees the launch of Carven's Ready-to-Wear for Women, a stylish, high quality range of fashionable clothing at accessible prices. Fusion of the Perfume, Couture and Accessories divisions : for the first time in many years, the full range of Carven luxury goods are reunited under the same management. Carven has now diversified its product ranges with the development of Carven's luxury goods for the home: porcelain, carpets and furniture, as well as a drinks line : Carven Champagne, Carven Cognac and Liqueur au Cognac.With a return to the original fragrance and having been newly repackaged, "Vetiver" celebrates its 40th birthday.Carven signs a long-term Master Licence Agreement for Japan with Japanese textile giants Toray.Carven Menswear opens a boutique at the Rond Point, which coincides with a large-scale advertising campaign in the major national magazines for Men.
The Carven pure Gold & Silver Jewellery collection is launched.
Another world market opens Carven signs a licence agreement for Women's Ready-to-Wear in China.Carven's worldwide presence grows as a Master Licence Agreement is signed for the territories of China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The late 1990's see the revival of Carven's Haute Couture activity, as well as the development of a new line of women's Ready-to-Wear created by new Artistic Director, Mr Edward Achour.
Madame Carven's second husband was Swiss businessman Rene Grog (1896-1981) Vice-President of Agfa-Gevaert France. He amassed a great collection of French 18th century objets d'art. Madame Carven donated her husband's priceless collection to the Louvre where nearly a hundred works are now on permanent display.
In 1993, Maguy Muzy was appointed designer of the Carven haute couture collection. She was followed by Angelo Tarlazzi in 1995, who remained till 1998. Edward Achour followed.
In 1998 Madame Carven was invited to Thailand, and at the age of nearly 90, she took a group of French models to Bangkok and put on a retrospective show of half a century of elegance at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.
From January to June 2002, there was a Retrospective Exhibition of Madame Carven's collections at the Musee Galleria of the Fashion Mode in Paris. She donated nearly 100 dresses from her archives which were later made into a permanent collection.
The house of Carven (perfume, couture and licences) has been bought over by the Daniel Harlant Group.
In 2002 Pascal Millet took over the design for the house of Carven. Born in the mid-1960's, Millet worked for Givenchy, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. His first collection for Carven was Fall 2002.
This was a great success, showing to a crowd of upscale clients who appreciated the interesting and wearable garments.
Arco International, the maker of luxury leather goods, has purchased the house of Carven for a reported 4 million Euros from businessman Daniel Harland who had taken over the company in 1998 and relaunched the haute couture activities. Designer Pascal Millet will continue to be the creative heart of the house.
Carven was known for her ultra-feminine detailing on clothing, such as white on white and lace, and embroidery trim. She produced delicately scaled clothing.