claude montana

Montana, Claude

Claude Montana is a French fashion designer, who designed items unforgettable because of their style and shape.

claude montana
Item by the fashion designer.

The origins

Claude Montana, both during his initial, more aggressive, phase and after he developed a more sophisticated, sculpted, structural simplicity, was one of the creators who shaped the prêt-à-porter during the 1970s, in France and the rest of the world.

His mixed origins (Catalonian father and German mother) are reflected in his minute physique, as slender as a flamenco dancer, and his upright, perfect bearing. His vision of the female form possesses great energy and is entrusted more and more to different tones of his single, chosen color, the blue used by the painter Yves Klein, modulated in clothes which resemble weightless armors, cloaks projected into space with careening scarves or spiraling collars.

The debut on runways

He was 20 years old when he debuted on the runway, in 1978. But he already had a noteworthy and varied apprenticeship behind him: he created bijoux in London, then, in Paris, worked as illustrator for fashion magazines and, finally, as assistant to the Swedish fashion designer Jean Voight, who was specialized in leather clothing. During the early 1970s, leather was his favorite material, which he frequently combined with knitwear. Even though his first show was attacked by the American press, who detected in it a unsettling form of severe Germanic military style (it featured models in black leather waistcoats and shorts covered by metal chains), the look became a uniform for young women.

During the 1980s his models were vaguely space-age, austere women, wide-shouldered but fragile, with geometric, aerial hairstyles, whom he presented in theatrical runway shows, with illusionistic lighting and extremely measured movements and gestures. Because of this, in 1986 he won the fashion Oscar. From winter 1990 until 1992, he was responsible for haute couture at the relaunched Maison Lanvin, whose two consecutive collections (July 1990 and January 1991) won the Dé d’Or.

claude montana
Some of the items designed by Claude Montana for Lanvin.

The new millennium

From summer 2003 the maison of Claude Montana announced that it would entrust the production of its menswear line (leather garments, knitwear, and overcoats) to different Italian partners. Montana, who returned to the Paris runway shows, remained only as the brand’s external consultant: in July 2000, in fact, the businessman Jean-Jacques Layani became the owner of Montana Création company and appointed, as General Director, Béatrice Bongibault. A specialist in the luxury goods sector, she already had held the same role at Chanel, Dior, Valentino and Escada.

Creation was entrusted to an internal style department, with a series of freelance designers, under the direction of his son, Laurent Layani. The collections, made under license, including prêt-à-porter women’s clothing, was entrusted to Multimoda, while the second line Montana Blu was produced by Fiba. The footwear and bags were made respectively by Franco Paolucci and Cip. The license for the production of glasses is owned by the French company Bourgeois, while the jewelry was realized by Apm.

claude montana
Claude Montana together with Cher.

A new Creative Director for Montana

In 2002 Stéphane Parmentier was appointed as new Creative Director for Montana. His first collection debuted in October, at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. Previously, he had worked for Lanvin, Lagerfeld and Givenchy. He also produced his own signature line. In May 2003 an agreement is reached with ECCE (Entreprise de Confection et de Commercialisation Européenne), a company specializing in menswear, for the production and distribution of men’s prêt-à-porter. The partnership with Montana joined the other licenses owned by ECCE, a company that has a turnover of 100 million euros a year and that has been responsible, for a long time, for Givenchy, Gant, Scherrer, Courrèges, Rochas, Eden, Park, and Arrow.

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