A bold extravaganza celebrates the Paris fashion house – and opera house
Bertrand Guyon's collection for Schiaparelli Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2018 referenced Elsa Schiaparelli's relationship to the Surrealist movement as well as her sense of fun
With a wall of shocking pink flowers on the grand stairway of the Paris opera house, the Schiaparelli Haute Couture show made a statement before the first animalistic headdress or surreal accessory hit the catwalk.
And what a catwalk! Instead of presenting the collection, as for the last few years, in the airily elegant “Schiap” residence overlooking the Place Vendôme, the new venue was in the intensely decorated Palais Garnier – although nothing could compete with the most dramatic outfits that appeared after the relative calm of black.
“I wanted it to be about Schiap herself – her personality and what she was as a woman,” said Design Director Bertrand Guyon, as he stood backstage by a moodboard of photos entirely of the couturier, who rose to fame in the 1920s and became one of the most prominent fashion designers between the wars.
“I was inspired by her; how she wore things by day and by night, her personality, personal style, her sensibility, and intimacy,” Guyon continued. “She loved animals, so there are pictures of her with her dogs. She even wrote a memoir of her pet dog. And she had a big sense of humour, so she wore hats like in the shape of rabbits.”
Taking a deep breath after what the designer called an “Animalia Fantasia” of madcap accessories, the awkward shoes that had models tripping on the runway, and the enthusiasm of the clients, Guyon had taken things forward.
With the support of owner Diego Della Valle, Schiaparelli is coming back to life as a viable brand, starting from the top downwards – literally in the case of those animal headdresses, and metaphorically in that the brand is surely edging towards ready-to-wear…………..