Who? This week marked the passing of legendary and celebrated coutourier Jean-Louis Scherrer. He died aged 78 after a 10-month illness, and leaves behind him a legacy of cocktail dresses, leopard print and elegance that helped to define Parisian couture in the 1970s and 80s.
"Scherrer leaves behind him a legacy of cocktail dresses, leopard print and elegance that helped to define Parisian couture in the 1970s and 80s"
What? Jean-Louis Scherrer worked closely with Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, before starting his own business in 1962. He helped to redesign the female silhouette through his tailored jackets and fitted cocktail dresses, and was one of the first labels to really prosper during the 1980s, becoming emblematic of the time. Recognised by his signature polka dots, elaborate bead embellishment and animal print, he promoted classic, considered cuts, as well as releasing several fragrances. He dressed Jackie Kennedy, Raquel Welch and Claudia Cardinale amongst others, and had a loyal aristocratic following. However, his brand suffered several economic crashes and after a succession of owners the house was forced to close in 2008.
Why? Scherrer was known to be extremely talented but also kind and discreet, and it was perhaps this sweet-natured lack of business acumen that prompted the label’s early demise. His house made a firm stamp on the history of fashion, through its historical impact, turbulent downfall and lasting beauty.
Jean-Louis Scherrer was born in Paris on February 19, 1935 and passed away in Paris on June 19, 2013.
Text by Mhairi Graham