Much has been pondered about the house of Schiaparelli since Marco Zanini was unceremoniously let go last November, after only two seasons at the helm of the Maison. Rumoured candidates for the succession include Marco de Vincenzo, Erdem, Meadham Kirchhoff, John Galliano and even Nicholas Ghesquière (a more than unlikely choice), as well as more unknown names. However, nothing has been officially announced yet, and the collection presented on Monday morning at Place Vendôme was designed by the in-house team. The result of their effort was less literal and more bridled than in previous seasons and, although clearly inspired by Schiap’s nineteen thirties archives, it still felt decidedly timeless.
Guests were welcomed at the Hôtel d’Evreux and guided to a shocking pink cube-shaped room (a décor conceived by Jean-Paul Goude and commissioned by Farida Khelfa, brand ambassador and one-time muse of the French photographer) to find Les Chérubins, the Parisian Gospel choir responsible for the show’s score (a version of Ravel’s Boléro sung in Mina, a language spoken in Benin and Ghana). Its exoticism was fitting to the clothes presented: the first look, an impeccably cut white tuxedo with pin embroideries in gold thread, was topped off with a blue velvet Moroccan hat designed by Stephen Jones (whose embellished metal caps added a street feeling to the collection). Delicate hand prints decorated several crêpe dresses and made for a lovely trompe-l’oeil detail on the back of a green satin dress, while ribbon motifs (an Elsa Schiaparelli classic) were recurrent, either printed or embroidered in sequins. The bold palette (in bright green, coral, shocking pink and lilac blue) and the surrealist-inspired accessories (glittery stars and Dali-like mirror necklaces) had an undeniable whimsy to them. But, combined with the simple cuts (large trousers, bias-cut dresses and a masculine blazer), they acquired an appeal that went beyond couture. Could the Maison be contemplating a pret-à-porter range in the near future? Hopefully the answer to this question will come along with the much-anticipated announcement of the house’s new creative director.