Maria (Nina) Ricci was born in Turin, Italy in 1883, she moved to Florence, Italy with her family at age 5 and then to France in 1895 at age 12. At the age of 13, she began an apprenticeship at a dressmaker's. In 1908 Nina joined the house of Raffin as a designer and remained there for 20 years. She became Raffin's partner, and then moved on to create her own design house in 1932. Madame Ricci designed gowns while her son Robert managed the business and finances. She worked with the fabrics directly on the mannequin to ensure they had the right shape once they were finished. Nina Ricci designs soon became known for their refined, romantic, always feminine feeling that Maria imparted to all of her collections. By the early 1950s Nina Ricci was nearing 70 years of age and slowly withdrew from an active role in design, choosing to just keep an eye on the house. Her son chose the new head designer in 1954, the Belgian Jules-Francois Crahay. Nina Ricci died on 30 November 1970 (according to her Headstone she died 29 November) at the age of 87. Robert Ricci died in 1988 and the company was taken over by Nina Ricci's son-in-law, Gilles Fuchs.