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.
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.
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.
The Haute Couture week started for good and bad. This season is pretty difficult for designers- after a loud Naomi Campbell run at Atelier Versace, Dior and Chanel should be scared. Dior is already a big looser, but that’s later… Roger Vivier, a Parisian old shoe label presented their designs of Haute Couture that are… A heaven. How can you put so much beauty into one bag or shoe? The capsule collection was all about gold and crystals mixed with fuksia, pink, red, violet and so on. The embroiderment used inside the shoe looks so fragile, and in reality is stronger than most of Made in Italy shoes. The world of Roger Vivier is a fairy tale. And if Cinderella would be alive, she would for sure wear one of these masterpieces.
Dior Haute Couture by Raf Simons was in my personal opinion a fail. That was the worst collection by Raf Simons ever. Inspired with women from African tribes and different cultures, this haute couture went totally bad. First of all because… It wasn’t really couture! The AW13 of Dior was more Haute than this. Here you could see simple coats with small scarves worm with it and dresses with stripes and a bit of embroiderment on the tops. Nothing else. And the shoes? The most horrible part! There was also a scandal that Raf Simons is a racist- he never put black women models into his shows. This season that changed with Joan Smalls and others, but still a problem appears about the… Boob size!
There was a problem with Jourdan Dunn, a American model who is a Afro American and was cancelled in last moment from the Dior show because of her… Boob size and “colouring”! As sne writes on her Twitter in a kind of irritated but happy way-
Well because her boobs are to small? This is a discrimination- somehow all other designers loved Jourdan (she even has a Jason Wu bag called for her) and here Simons says no to her because of that problem? Seriously thats kind of stupid. By the way, Dunn writes some more arguments opposing her presence on the Dior show.
Fashion world seems to be sometimes really silly and crazy… What more happened on first day of HC Week in Paris? Schiaparelli by Christian Lacroix. The collection doesn’t feels too much of Elsa, but very Christian Lacroix. Dresses from chiffon, feathers and gold, crystals and ornaments, colours… So much to mention. I loved the fur usage and stripes but it felt also a bit mot “today”. Maybe in past it would be as trendy as Givenchy now, but I don’t think Rooney Mara or Kim Kardashian would wear it on a gala…and the presentation was in Elsa Schiaparelli closed showroom in Paris, so no guests were there…