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The Rodier story begins in the heart of Picardie, in the north of France, with two generations of weavers, the Rodiers. In 1852, the founder of he dynasty is none other than Auguste Rodier, a true forerunner, whose weaving techniques make the House one of the most important fabric manufacturers associated in particular with Haute Couture. Selected by Paul Poiret, Chanel, Grès and Dior, Rodier fabrics make their mark in Haute Couture. Jersey, a fine knitted fabric, taking its name from the island where it has been produced since the middle Ages, becomes the Rodier signature.
In 1916, Gabrielle Chanel brings Jacques Rodier in on her creative quest: to be the first to use jersey— traditionally associated with undergarments—to make soft clothes. While the corsets disappear, skirts get shorter, and pants—still prohibited for women—begin to make their first appearance, Rodier is part of a revolution of softness. Sportswear also takes its first steps in beach resorts like Deauville, Biarritz…
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In 1954, as Dalida lights up French music with Bambino and Piaf sets fire to the radio waves with L’Homme à la Moto, Rodier definitively marks its involvement in the lives of modern women with KASHA: a new fabric, as soft as cashmere, crafted from merino wool and acrylic, becomes the symbol of a time when fabric equaled nobility, softness and comfort. At this time when we’re dreaming of travel, life and being elsewhere, KASHA symbolizes ease and movement. Machine washable (the first washing machine will be introduced two years later), it doesn’t shrink and is indecently easy to care for. Also due to the meticulous work of reducing armholes and darning necklines, it doesn’t deform. Rodier asserts itself as a brand in tune with the times.
By launching into ready-to-wear, the Rodier House establishes itself as a brand that sees far and sees big. In fact, in 1957, ready-to-wear does not exist in France, or very little through the “separates” of Hubert de Givenchy for example. It won’t be until Yves Saint Laurent comes out with his Rive Gauche collection in 1966 that real ready-to-wear fashion comes into play. Yet, Rodier continues to innovate with a range of knits in modern colors. In 1961, the Rodier wool bouclé dresses Jackie Kennedy in an ensemble by Christian Dior. The American First Lady marks her White House years by an elegance that has since become iconic—the famous “easy-to-copy” style. From the corsair slacks she wears with twin sets to go on cruises to crewneck sweaters she never fails to match to skirts, Jackie is broadcast in majesty and movement on screens across world.
1966 marks an important year for Rodier, which is now selling 2 million knit pieces a year. The famous twin sets are being adopted by a whole generation dancing the twist… A legend is born. Made up of a cardigan and matching sweater, they are all through the pages of Mademoiselle Age Tendre magazine and young women wear them with pearls and backcombed hair to go out and swing to the tunes of Johnny, Sheila and Sylvie Vartan. The twin set is to the yé-yé years as the little back dress is to the 1920’s and the corolla skirt to the 1940’s: a new classic. With Rodier, it will withstand the test of time. The twin set is also the favorite amongst the French New Wave actresses that all the ladies adore and look up to because they embody French seduction. As a result of its success, Rodier comes out with its ready-to-wear offer—a real clothing line dressing women from head to toe and week to weekend.
The 80’s mark the advent of dynamic, liberated women. Rodier dresses them in colorful ready-to-wear knitwear and calls on the likes of Linda Evangelista, Marie France Pisier and Valérie Kaprisky to represent the brand creating a buzz around advertising: “They rock in Rodier”. More and more women are wearing turtlenecks under their shoulder-padded pantsuits, taking them on like new partners in crime for the urban jungle.
Under the auspices of Samy Marciano, owner of Folia, the knitwear specialist, Rodier imposes a new vision marked by more contemporary models and a new range of colors. In 2005, the twin set is revived in its original material with the original brand label. In 2012, a new style is introduced with Emile Luc Duc as the Artistic Director. His goal: stay connected to the Rodier “collective memory”: “I immersed myself in the archives, then I stopped, and I maintained these two pillars: the knit and the color. Everything else I forgot”. (Journal du Textile, November 8, 2011). The Rodier style incorporates new desires for femininity, romance and seduction. Always at the forefront of changes that mark the times, 2016 marks the rollout of the Rodier e-commerce site. New concept, new image and new scenario: the Rodier style is above all for those who love the new and the eternal, softness and natural comfort. And so, what’s in store for 2019? The Rodier House enjoys a reputation and a true attractiveness for everyone they dress, from father to son, mother to daughter, in the name of shared, universal values generously woven since 1852.