"Mauve \Mauve\, n. [F., mallow, L. malva. So named from the similarity of the color to that of the petals of common mallow, Malva sylvestris.."(http://dictionary.die.net/aniline%20purple)
Mauve is quite lavender, not quite pink and most certainly not showy orchid. Mauve is a quiet color with richness and charm. It can tend toward the gray, blue or pink undertones. Long eschewed as an "old lady's color" it appears in many fashion collections but often minus its monichor.
The original dye color was much brighter but faded quickly so the mauve we know today is more akin to the faded color.
"Mauve was the first of the aniline dies a dyestuff produced artificially by the oxidation of commercial aniline, and the first discovered of the so-called coal-tar, or aniline, dyes. It consists of the sulphate of mauve["i]ne, and is a dark brown or bronze amorphous powder, which dissolves to a beautiful purple color. Called also aniline purple, violine, etc." http://dictionary.die.net/aniline%20purple.