Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 14: Schiaparelli
Marco Zanini's first collection for Schiaparelli has instantly justified his credibility: he has seemingly let fresh air into the room of the stale idle fashion house, dramatically throwing open the window.
Christian Lacroix, who created the first collection for the revival of the Italian house, did not do this – and most drew on the heritage of its famous founder Elsa Schiaparelli, creating a collection that was more a retrospective exhibition. Zanini has with one flick of his wrist shaken off the dust of the models from Lacriox's 'Schiaparelli museum', and not in a pompous way, but by showcasing fun, eccentric gowns, and most importantly – living things. Of course the eccentricity Schiaparelli would have loved, for she – like Zanini – mixed her favourite techniques and vivid details of past collections to create her own vision of the modern woman.
Like the previous, the new collection is full of references to the past of the fashion house. The silhouettes themselves taken embody the forties and thirties, when 'crazy Elsa' was at the peak of her popularity. "Controlled excess," Zanini called it. "I tried to set myself free."
Queue evening gowns in hand-painted prints featuring squirrels and rats and cropped evening jackets with furry tinsel sleeves, as festive as can be.
Italian entrepreneur owner Diego Della Valle, who also owns Tod's and Roger Vivier, is said to be concentrating on couture before branching out into luxury ready-to-wear and other accessories. A hint of things to come was made by Zanini via the sunglasses, gloves and handbags, and furry clutches the models hugged like teddy bears walking the runway. One has high hopes for the reignited fashion house if this show is anything to go by...