Antonio Cánovas del Castillo de Rey was born in 1908 in Madrid. He was educated in his home city at the Colegio del Pilar and the University of Madrid before studying in Granada at the El Sacro Monte. In 1936 the Spanish Civil War started and Castillo went to Paris. He spent some time as a diplomat until in 1949 he became a designer for Paquin and Robert Piguet. He also designed accessories for Coco Chanel. Castillo, together with Pierre Balmain, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Christian Dior, were the new generation of Paris designers after World War II. In 1945, Elizabeth Arden persuaded him to join her in New York. He produced collections based on natural shoulder lines and slim silhouettes, topped with small hats, until 1950. Castillo also worked as a costume designer for the New York Metropolitan Opera Company and for Broadway shows.In 1950, Castillo was invited by Jeanne Lanvin's daughter to design for her mother's firm in Paris, with hopes of relaunching the firm's name. In 1950 he joined the fashion house of Lanvin. Lanvin had died in 1946 and the salon needed a new designer. From 1950 to 1962, the salon was known for elegant clothes, slender lines, long flowing skirts in rich fabrics, and elaborate embroideries. In 1962, Castillo left Lanvin and in 1964 opened his own business in Paris. He continued to design clothes for clients, the film and the stage.
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