Jeanne Allen - designer, businesswoman, author and mentor.
Jeanne grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of
Washington. In 1970 at Design Research in San Francisco, she met
her future husband, Marc Grant. Together they went to Helsinki,
Finland to work at the design mecca Marimekko Oy and then to
Brighton, England where Jeanne began to collage vintage fabrics
into patchwork jackets and dresses. They quickly sold out in trendy
London and Paris boutiques.
Jeanne and Marc returned to San Francisco in 1974. Encouraged
by the success in Europe, they opened the first Jeanne-Marc
shop on Washington Square in North Beach. Here the collection
grew in both size and sophistication. Meticulously crafted,
colorful and rich in detail, the eclectic designs caught the attention
of the fashion savvy and orders poured in from Saks, I Magnin,
Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods
in London. The fashion press took note and People magazine
featured them for the star quality of their clientele.
In 1988, both Jeanne and Marc were elected to the CFDA, (the
Council of American Designers). “This is the most prestigious
organization in our profession and is largely New York-centric.
We were very honored to be invited,” said Jeanne. In 1990, they
received the Absolute Vodka Golden Shears Award for design.
By 1997, the Jeanne-Marc factory employed 100 workers and was
recognized by the United Nations and the City of San Francisco
as, in the words of the awards, “a great place to work”.
Jeanne has written eight books on color, fashion and Japanese
prints for Chronicle Books. She has also held leadership positions
as a city commissioner for Small Business and a director of the
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. In 2011 she was elected
into the Wall of Honor in the Seattle suburb of Bothell, where she
attended high school and in 2012. Jeanne and Marc--who is an
artist as well as a fashion designer - were honored by the City of
Berkeley for their contribution to the Arts. Currently, Jeanne is
serving as the first Executive Director of the Fashion Incubator at
Macy’s on Union Square.
Jeanne and Marc live in Berkeley in a hexagon shaped house that
was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938.