Lolita Lempicka

Morna Laing

Designer Biography

DOI: 10.5040/9781474260428-FPA042

Lolita Lempicka was born in 1954 in Bordeaux, France. Lempicka’s interest in fashion was piqued at an early age, and at six she was already designing clothes for her Barbie doll collection using scraps of fabric garnered from her mother, a skilled dressmaker. At age seventeen she enrolled in Studio Berçot, a Parisian fashion school, where she trained for two years. Having finished her studies, Lempicka traveled to destinations such as Kabul, Delhi, and Kathmandu—in line with the hippie spirit of the times. Upon returning to Paris, Lempicka opened a boutique called Nostalgia, which sold vintage clothing as well as a few of her own designs.

This was followed by another period of intense travel: this time across the United States. Once back in Paris, Lempicka, along with her companion Joseph, founded the Lolita Lempicka label in 1984. That same year she opened a boutique and showroom in the Marais district of Paris. The first Lempicka collection was shown in Tokyo, Japan in 1984, and the label would go on to become firmly established throughout Japan by virtue of a licensing agreement.

The philosophy behind Lempicka is to create fashions “challenging traditions and embracing modern, romantic and refined femininity.” Garments are informed by a sense of childhood wonder, and the enchantment of fairy tales, mythical figures, Pre-Raphaelite art, and eighteenth-century baroque. Lempicka clothing is feminine and highly decorative: often featuring lace embellishment and floral motifs, with the brand’s iconic ivy leaf encapsulating the mystery informing the brand. Lempicka has cited Coco Chanel as the woman who has most inspired her, in terms of the strength of her convictions and her talent for design. The first Lempicka fragrance was launched in 1997, entitled Lolita Lempicka, and was sold in an apple-shaped bottle. Lempicka fragrances have since enjoyed considerable success; subsequent scents have included Si Lolita, and Lolita Lempicka au Masculin—a fragrance for men.

Lempicka has worked with French ready-to-wear brand Cacharel as well as participating in a number of collaborations with high-street brands. In 2007 she designed a fashion and lingerie line for Etam, and has also worked with La Redoute on numerous occasions. For spring/summer 2012, Lempicka collaborated with French sustainable fashion brand EKYOG. Other, more diverse collaborative ventures have included a Lolita Lempicka version of the Nissan Micra; luxury luggage designed in collaboration with Delsey (2009); Samsung cell phones (2008 and 2011); and a collection of organic patisserie in collaboration with Bonneterre entitled Les Gourmandises de Lolita Lempicka.

The early success of the Lempicka label has been attributed, by some, to the fact that it struck a chord with the new woman of the 1980s—a woman who was both career-driven and feminine; who embraced both formal suiting and glamour. To mark twenty successful years of Lempicka design, a book was published in 2004 entitled Lolita Lempicka: 20 ans de création.

Lolita Lempicka, F/W1995 Photograph by Niall McInerney, Fashion Photography Archive

References and Further Reading

Lolita Lempicka. Website, 2013. http://lolitalempicka.com .

Find in Library Mabrut Claire. ““Lolita Lempicka crée pour Etam”.” Le Figaro , 19 January 2007. http://madame.lefigaro.fr/style/lolita-lempicka-cree-pour-etam-190107-146 (accessed 18 April 2013) .

Find in Library Morgue T., and J. Gaillac. Lolita Lempicka: 20 ans de création . Paris : Martinière, 2004.