Eddie Pensier writes:
Irfé is a fashion house with a curious history. It was founded in 1924 in Paris by noble Russian expatriates Irina and Felix Youssupov.
Those of you with a head for historical trivia may be wondering where you recognize that name from. Yes, it’s that Felix Youssupov, more famous for murdering Grigori Rasputin. Irina was herself a Romanov, daughter of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and a niece of the last tsar Nicholas II.
Not long after the murder, Felix and Irina sailed for Malta, loaded with jewels and art (including two Rembrandts) that would finance their life in exile. Eventually they landed in Paris and opened Irfé.
The house was a modest success, mostly derived from the notoriety of the Youssupovs than any outstanding design. A fragrance division brought in more customers. The market crash of 1929 forced the closure of Irfé’s boutiques in Paris, London and Berlin.
It might have remained a historical footnote had the brand not been revived 90 years later by the enterprising Belarussian model Olga Sorokina, and Xenia Sphyris, the granddaughter of Felix and Irina. The house had their first Paris Fashion week show in late September, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov.