'Shocking society' was the title of the latest collection by Bertrand Guyon for Schiaparelli. A fitting one, as proved by the frantic paparazzi activity at the entrance of the maison’s headquarters before the show. They were desperately trying to get a picture of Pixie Lott, coyly uttering ‘This is exciting!’ as she entered the venue, and then of Spanish actress Rossy de Palma, all smiles and grandiose gestures. It was an eclectic mix of guests that mirrored Elsa Schiaparelli’s friends. Lee Miller, Anaïs Nin and Nancy Cunard, along with the usual suspects Picasso and Salvador Dali were the starting point of a collection influenced by female freedom. The inspiration was far from obvious in the first few looks - hybrid space-age numbers mixing extra-large trousers, smoking jackets, A-line mini dresses, transparent plastic raincoats and onesies decorated with sequin lobsters - but it took all its meaning with the bias-cut chiffon dresses, a perfect example of how a girl can dress to the nines without her movements and attitude being restricted by the dress she is wearing. There was a true sense of freedom there.
Guyon is always at his best when working with subtlety, and his little Schiap touches – sequined trompe l’oeil belts, hidden brooches and chiffon layering – always work. Less so do his Picasso-inspired jackets, a little too in-your-face for most fashion critics. But those, as the designer said backstage, are among his best-sellers. Well, never change a winning team.