Chic Era. Schiaparelli AW17 Couture

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I see their era as the beginning of the liberation of women,” Bertrand Guyon commented on such female creatives as Nancy Cunard and Anaïs Nin. But it wasn’t about Schiaparelli garments these women used to wear – it was about their timeless sense of freedom and independence. Since his first days at Elsa Schiaparelli’s maison, Guyon’s work was slammed by the critics, because of his too great attachment to the brand’s heavy archives. This season, he decided to loosen it up and go with his own flow. And that was the right thing to do, as this was his best collection up to date. Remarkable evening-wear spanned from a long-sleeved gown in burgundy to a fantastical white tulle bride dress (which served as a closing look). Little details, like trompe l’oeil-effect embellishments and Picasso-esque prints on bolero jackets. A tiny whimsical dress of Swarovski chainmail paired with Victorian boots. Chic, chic, chic.


Collage by Edward Kanarecki (backdrop: George Sowden’s illustration).

Couture – Rhapsody. Schiaparelli AW16


Being a creative director of Schiaparelli is hard, noting Elsa Schiaparelli’s extremely idiosyncratic and characteristic legacy. We’ve all observed how Bertrand Guyon struggled with the splendour of archives and references during his last two seasons, simply re-designing Elsa’s famous gowns and costumes. But for autumn-winter 2016, it seems that Guyon decided to sit down in a calm place while designing the new collection, which, in fact, isn’t a laid-back topic.

Schiaparelli’s famous summer 1938 circus show was in Guyon’s mind throughout the creative process, keeping it toned and, at a first glance, simple. The first looks were quite surprisingly elegant – black dresses with Old Hollywood style cuts and shoulders, hand-painted smokings. So chic. Then, it got even better, as the cocktail dress with a Picasso-esque bustier emerged. Back in the times, Schiaparelli expressed a true rhapsody of surreal beauty in fashion, and this collection proved that Bertrand can do Elsa’s thing, too. A velvet, butterfly-wing shaped jacket; colourful mink jacket; sequined ball-dresses. It’s a circus inspired collection, so naturally it was impossible not to spot meticulously embroidered peacocks and other animals. Every piece from this collection is a work of art. Indeed, that’s haute couture.










HC – Haute Foodie. Schiaparelli SS16


Bertrand Guyon has his second season at Schiaparelli finished, but it still seems that he needs time to show his audience who he is. The signatures of Elsa Schiaparelli are so characteristic that it’s surely hard to make your personal style the first privilege – even though Marco Zanini, the predecessor of Guyon at the brand, was nearly there. The idea behind the haute couture spring-summer 2016 collection, or rather a thematic find from Elsa’s archives, was celebration of food and the family meal. The topic of food was significant for the legendary designer – in her autobiography “Shocking Life“, she stated “eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.” Indeed, the nearly minuscule details and bejewelled embroideries, created in collaboration with Maripol, looked joyous. The adorable cherry was hooked over one nipple, while an evolution of a “breakfast egg” had been humoristically presented in form of jacket buttons. Bertrand and his team proved that craftsmanship is the maison‘s specialty – the blazer above was ornamented with a wheat plaiting technique, known to the best Parisian ateliers only.

However, the collection had its bad site which couldn’t be fixed by all those nutritious finishings – in the overall, the collection looked unfinished. The closing looks weren’t spectacular at all – modest, scanty dresses felt not on the right place. Even the spider-web shoulder exposures were illogical. I suppose Elsa didn’t mean insects as her favourite positions in the menu. As it’s visible, the collection needed a more strict edit, and a rich, festive ending. I still felt hungry after the show.






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HC – Bertrand Guyon. Schiaparelli AW15


Who is Bertrand Guyon? Formerly of Givenchy and Christian Lacroix, Guyon’s most recent post was held at Valentino. And now he is the creative director behind Schiaparelli, succeeding Marco Zanini. As I wrote a year ago when Zanini had his second collection at this historic fashion house, Elsa Schiaparelli legacy and style is so strong and so intense, that it is nearly impossible to lead the brand in symbiosis with her signatures and the designer’s personal style. For his first show, Bertrand and Schiaparelli studio presented a rich in embroideries collection, full of luxury textiles and embellishments. “Midnight velvet dress”,  “gold-embroidered brocade suit” – the titles of each look from the brand’s ambassador instagram, Farida Khelfa , sound major. But by looking at all that mind-blowing beauty and craft, I can’t see any Guyon’s identity. More of fur? Sleeker silhouettes? No one knows. However, I am excited what the next season will be like with this mysterious designer. Hopefully its going to be more clear.