The storied label has several reasons to celebrate right now.
Early in January, the house of Schiaparelli was elevated to Haute Couture status by the French Ministry of Industry and the French Couture Federation, becoming the fourteenth officially recognized Haute Couture label. It was subtle, and appropriately sweet, that its first true Haute Couture collection sent a series of Valentine’s Day themed ensembles down the catwalk.
Decorated with artsy hearts and pierced with keyhole cut outs literally marking the key to models’ hearts, there were also a few prime examples of the brand’s signature lobster. Originally painted by Salvadore Dali, the image is always a reminder of Elsa Schiaparelli, the label’s founder, and the brand’s surrealist roots.
Less well known than Coco Chanel, Elsa was a contemporary. More than that, the two were each other’s greatest rivals. In fact, Schiaparelli was the more esteemed fashion house of the time. “Madder and more original than most of her contemporaries, Mme Schiaparelli is the one to whom the word ‘genius’ is applied most often,” TIME wrote in 1934, while noting that Chanel, on the other hand, was “not at present the most dominant influence in fashion.”
But whereas Chanel returned to clothes creation after World War II, thus sealing its future as nothing less than the “most dominant influence in fashion,” Schiaparelli did not. The house closed on December 13, 1954 and lost its Haute Couture status. It wasn’t until 2013 that Marco Zanini revived the label. Creative director Bertrand Guyon took over in 2015 and has consistently wowed critics with stunning shows that are creative, artsy, and true to Elsa’s original vision. His efforts have been rewarded. The label celebrates its 90th anniversary this year and can look forward to a bright beginning to its second century. — jas