It was one of the biggest talking points of last year. Who would be at the helm of the re-invigorated Schiaparelli, the House we all Love to Love?
When Marco Zanini was announced, this shy-from-the-glare-of-the-spotlight designer with a sense of whimsy and history, who managed single-handedly to breathe life, whimsy and humour into Rochas as well as sheer God-Damned chic into Parisian couture, we all breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn’t an obvious one, but it was a great and fitting choice.
Fast forward to yesterday’s showing of Schiaparelli couture. It would be the first time in 60 years that La Grande Dame Surrealist’s House would be on the roster of shows and, obviously, expectation was high.
Zanini approached this with gusto but surprisingly, didn’t keep to one steam of consciousness (hell, would any died in the wool Surrealist?) but veered this way and that in terms of structure, direction and theme. This was experi-mentalist to the max. A paillette-encrusted brocade bodysuit under a sheer silk chiffon ‘robe de chambre’, reversed jackets that spewed ruffles, vivid print (a Schiaparelli lynchpin), a metallic hoop striped-tube dress , hints of Austen in the bare-shouldered froths of catwalk beauty with balloon sleeves, some nods to ‘30s Schiaparelli bias with ornate embroidery and more than a Geisha influence in several of the 19 outfits, then, in contrast, loose dinner jackets with masculine tuxedo pants or thrown over strapless gowns.
There was less a steady handwriting (here) and more a playful attitude of suck-it-and-see. Still what we saw was more whimsical, upbeat and filled with wild ideas and newness that ‘ye regular olde’ couture show and for that Zanini we than you. It’s been a LONG time since we had a Galliano gush. We may have to wait a couple of seasons to see how this develops.
Catwalk images taken from style.com by kind consent.