Since closing its doors in 1954, the house of Schiaparelli, once synonymous with fun, experimental design, has lain silent and had all but been consigned to the pages of fashion history. But in September 2013, news reached the fashion world that a revival was on its way, with the Milanese Marco Zanini at the helm. Now, with life breathed back into the brand by Zanini’s playful aesthetic, Schiaparelli seems set to retake its place among the other Paris Haute Couture greats.
Well-known for being an eclectic and daring designer, Elsa Schiaparelli injected some much-needed fun into the stiff and formal world of Haute Couture. She became famous for her innovations, introducing, among other things, the first trompe l’oeil pullover, the first zipper in Haute Couture and her signature colour of shocking pink. And who could forget the shoe hat or the famous lobster dress?
Sixty years after Elsa Schiaparelli closed the house and one season in, Zanini has taken the bold vision of its founder and built on it to give us one of the most flamboyant and vibrant collections to date. For his second offering for the house, shown recently at Paris Haute Couture week, Zanini presented a riot of colour, witty prints, feathers and fur, truly embodying the Schiaparelli woman for the first time since he arrived as creative director.
Zanini found new ways to express Elsa’s unique vision through heart motifs, whimsical butterflies and even printed rats, while sharply tailored shoulders, eccentric hats and bold colour clashes paid more direct homage to the founder. And of course, pink, as Schiaparelli’s favourite hue, made an appearance in many forms. From the coral pink coat emblazoned with the initials ES to the fuchsia wool trousers teamed with purple suede gloves to the shocking pink velvet dress, Zanini referenced the house’s iconic history with expertise.
The modern Schiaparelli woman is as she has always been, the ultimate fearless femme fatale, but armed with a Stephen Jones hat and a heavy dose of Zanini’s humour, she now has a new way to express her individuality. And for those of us who are looking to channel this look, it is quite simple, really. In the words of the immortal Elsa: dare to be different.
Images courtesy of vogue.co.uk and schiaparelli.com