It is not every day that we see brands that have slipped into oblivion make a miraculous comeback and show us that they were never too far away in the first place. What is more astounding is the fact that after 80 years, we see the royally founded French fashion house spreading its wings figuratively and flying to new heights. Maison IRFE was founded in Paris during the year of 1924 by the Royal Youssoupoff couple. Princess Irina Romanova was the gorgeous niece of Emperor Nicholas and granddaughter to Tsar Alexander III. Prince Felix Youssoupoff was the Count of Sumarokov-Elston, a descendant from an ancient Russian tribe and one of the most handsome men in the country. As the heir to an infamous fortune, it made sense for the couple to have more wealth than they could imagine, particularly since the Youssoupoff were closely related to Russian and European aristocracy and said to possibly be richer than the Tsar himself. Fashion was like second nature to the prince and princess, and the experiences of their childhoods would become the major inspiration for their designs and furnishings at the Maison IRFE.
The last wedding in the Emperor’s family before the beginning of the First World War, the royal nuptials were seen as the biggest of the century. It essentially became the last wedding of the empire. The Russian revolution forced the couple’s relocation to Italy, where they had a villa on Corsica and an estate in Paris, France. It was in France that the Maison IRFE began functioning for the first time. The inauguration took place in the Ritz Hotel in 1924, with Irina herself modelling off some of the pieces. With an aristocratic allure and flawless features, she was known as the most beautiful woman in Paris. She, on the other hand, did not consider herself to be a fashion model.
Maion IRFE was a family business, the royals including Prince Nikita Romanov and his wife the Princess Maria Voronstova-Dashkova as well, along with Mikhail and Nonna Kalashnikovs. The models were of a modern taste, with androgynous bodies and boyish hairstyles. In 1925, the fashion house was deemed to have original and refined taste with much in terms of minute detailing and an artistic vision that is just perfect for the French fashion scene. The visions extended to color as well, with the designers having an impeccable eye for combinations and the creation of newer hues. It was grand!
Since her models were princesses and countesses, Irina Romanova soon gained immense fame from around the world, which contributed to the growth of the house as a whole. In 1931, the Maison IRFE closed down, but its legendary perfumes would be floating around until the 1960s. Today, only 2 of the original dresses made can be found, which is such a shame. Today, the owner and creative director of Maison IRFE is Olga Sorokina and the debut of the Maison IRFE couture fall 2015 collection after staying closed down for so long is awaited on this day, to feature 21 looks. We expect to see feathers and funky designs, accordion skirts and plunging necklines, women’s tuxedos and high waist designs, while also welcoming in mini dresses with fringe, furry coats, floral prints, bustier cropped tops and see through materials showing off the bodies hidden beneath. We cannot wait to see them beyond a sketch as actually fitted to androgynous models (as we expect they will be to keep to the original spirit of the royal Fashion House)
Photos courtesy of Maison IRFE