HC: Spirit of Elsa. Schiaparelli AW14


The ex-designer of Rochas, Marco Zanini, didn’t have the expected applause either from fashion journalists or me on his first show for the couture house, Schiaparelli. He took too much of unconsciousness that even the  Elsa Schiaparelli’s archival classics didn’t help. The collection was a critical mess although the clothes individually were like from a fairy-tale. As Zanini said yesterday “Last season I felt really the fright. I was so afraid about touching the legacy, because camp is a trap that is always around the corner with Schiaparelli. But I realized if I wanted to find the look, I cannot avoid going there, so why don’t I go there full-on?” And that was just the right thing to do, Marco. You brought back the spirit of Elsa. The couture show was couture: it wasn’t something, that would last one season (like in case of Chanel) or it wasn’t something, that made couture feel a useless collection (think Raf Simons at Dior, who brings future and sneakers to the couture section of the house, making it feel so RTW). The first look of AW14 at Schiaparelli made me already feel that it’s going to be a brilliant show. Leopard printed coat with mink fur sleeves, a beanie and pointy-nosed booties outfit is my first dib. It is very Parisian, non-chalant, chic… and styled in a couture way. Floor-sweeping coral pink mohair coat with giant ES initials in royal blue on the chest and attention-grabbing, pronounced shoulders (a bold silhouette it shared with other outerwear in the collection) will read as too literal for some tastes, too steeped in the couturier’s 1930s milieu. But what? It’s beautiful because it makes us dream and not think of the damn reality. Thus you had today’s animal prints: nesting pigeons whose eyes were embroidered in sequins on high-waisted trousers, poodles on a simple pleated skirt, and vibrant purple “Central Park” squirrels and rats on a 1930s gown—street creatures all, made fabulous despite their mundanity. And thus you had surreal moments like the bleeding heart picked out in Lesage embroidery on a black dress. “Schiaparelli is so vivid as an image in your mind,” Zanini said. “As a designer you really need to confront the dragon and go there.”  And to sum up my a-bit-too-long-post, here is what I think: there was a beautiful time in fashion  when rich women might have shopped at Christian Lacroix. Eccentricity has gone mostly missing from couture since Lacroix shuttered his business. And that’s a shame. Shouldn’t couture, most of all, be a stage for flamboyance, provocation, fun and dreaming? Thanks god, Zanini is convinced of it.









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