Jean-Pierre Duvelleroy founded his namesake brand in 1827, with the aim of reviving the use of fans in high society. Duvelleroy is one of the only French fan-makers still in operation today, and the house is flooded with rich and intricate history.
With fans having mostly gone out of fashion by 1827, Jean-Pierre Duvelleroy sought to bring this accessory back into style. Over the years, his expert craftsmen and artisans produced beautiful and impressive designs which consistently catered for elites and royalty. Using precious materials of ivory, mother of pearl and tortoise shell, stick makers produced luxurious designs. The leaves of the fans were designed and adorned by some of the most prestigious artists of the time, such as Delaccroix and Ingres for the most important of creations, and other highly respected artists. This level of opulence was favoured by many members of royalty over the years, with Duvelleroy becoming supplier to Queen Victoria and subsequently opening a store in London. From here, expansion continued throughout Europe, and Duvelleroy became a big name globally.
Jean-Pierre Duvelleroy’s son, Jules Duvelleroy ran the London store and developed the brand’s name throughout the country. The ‘language of the fan’ was created by Jules Duvelleroy in the late 19th century, which laid out codes of meaning depending on how a fan was held or motioned. This code was used by women for centuries, and has become a fascinating part of fashion history.
In 1940, Duvelleroy was taken over by Jules-Charles Maignan, and after some time, the Duvelleroy Fund was eventually passed onto his grandson Michel Maignan in 1981. This was a patrimony of tools, drawings, fans and other artifacts kept within the house since the brand’s conception. These items have been used in many exhibitions over the years, and in 2010, Maignan joined with Eloïse Gilles and Raphaëlle Le Baud to relaunch the brand’s fan-making legacy. Today, Duvelleroy honours traditional French fan-making in the creation of luxury fans available upon request. Ready-to-wear fans are also available, hand-made in Spain in many designs and styles. Fans can be accessed on the Duvelleroy online store, where inquiries can also be made for luxury styles.