Ever since it was announced that the House of Schiaparelli was to be re-instigated by Tods’ owner, Diego Della Velle, the fashion industry’s been in a tizz. Who would Dello Vella choose to head the house? Most forwarded a Galliano link (in our dreams) but Signor Della Velle choose wisely – (ex-Rochas) Marco Zanini for mainline (still, as yet unconfirmed) and the genius deposed Christian Lacroix for a one-off couture stint, who was welcomed back to fold-fashion with open arms.
Lacroix said of the appointment in the New York Times, “I am not going to be at the heart of the house, nor will I give a catwalk show. It is simply the idea of revisiting her collections.”
Concentrate on the latter point here. We were promised theatre with Lacroix as first couture designer in what is to be a changing stable of guest acts at the house and we got it in droves, but was it Schiap?
The static display was modern in its understatement of presentation (viewed almost as a museum installation) and seemed to hold all of Lacroix’s flair for the artistic and the overblown but very little of what, as fashion seers, we’d expect of Schiaparelli in terms of marrying modernist art with fashion vision.
Yes, there was little adages to the Grande Dame with bejewelled lobsters, monkey fur detailing (actually goat – we’ve come a long way re. monkey love in fashion) and long bias lines but this seemed contrite, laboured surrealism and much more retrospective Lacroix with Schiap touches rather than Schiaparelli brought slap-bang up to date.
Perhaps we can expect much more surprises in store from the House that will hold an annual event in the contemporary art world and ask artists to give their interpretations of Schiaparelli. Surely this is much more in-line with Schiaparelli’s legacy? Frieze, The Venice Biennalle and Turner Prize winners working with couture to deliver up a vision? Schiaparelli famously worked with Cocteau, Dali and Giacometti when they were modernist art visionaries and created her unique and pioneering stance.
The Lacroix Schiaparelli couture collection for Autumn ’13 remains more a testimony to the greatness of Monsieur Lacroix’s best work – poufs, radical colours, sashes, overblown operatic statements of intent and largesse rather than the ultra artistic, shocking Schiaparelli. Let’s see what’s next.