Kitmir: Les broderies russes de Mademoiselle Chanel


Words by Nadia Albertini, Sophie Kurkdjian


Kitmir's embroideries were characterised by their imagination and fantasy, inspired by the Slavic world and Persia, China and Egypt, in an exotic and cosmopolitan spirit typical of the period. Few garments embroidered by the Kitmir workshop have survived.

Cousin of the Russian emperor Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna fled Russia in 1918 and settled in Paris in 1920. The Russian emigrants, who had been needle-wielders since childhood, found that embroidery was a source of income that enabled them to rebuild their lives in Paris. In autumn 1921, the Grand Duchess met Mademoiselle Chanel, who was looking for new inspiration for her designs and found in Marie a valuable ally. She signed an exclusive contract with the house to create and supply embroidery for the seasonal collections and founded the Kitmir company in 1922. The same year, Chanel launched its Russian collection.

This book is dedicated to the history of the Kitmir workshop. It retraces the career of Grand Duchess Marie and her dialogue with Mademoiselle Chanel through part of her production between 1921 and 1928. The book also includes around a hundred samples, carefully preserved and never before published since the workshop closed in 1929.





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