“I have taken from knowledge of Schiaparelli works and new archives, discovering and trying to extract from her inspiration, times and legacy, that is still relevant today. I find my inspiration in the past, in art or in the street; in Schiaparelli’s universe! I have been cautious with everything that is too well-known, such as shocking capes, Surrealist lobsters or shoe-hats! We have to deal with them, not denying these important pieces, but treat them with a lighter hand. I am mainly trying to enlighten less-known aspects of her work – her black pieces for instance.
She was so paradoxical that it’s not easy to resume her in just a few works. Paradoxical is just one, which means past vs. future, high vs. low; luxury vs. simplicity, rich vs. rough, Italy vs. France, black vs. shocking pink. I want to make people aware of her hidden face: neater, simpler, more subdued than expected; an opposite approach compared to her caricature.”
I want to make people aware of Schiaparelli's hidden face: neater, simpler, more subdued than expected; an opposite approach compared to her caricature.”
After several years in the making, Couture by Christian Lacroix will launch next week as part of couture fashion week in Paris, as a homage to legendary designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The 18-look exhibition pulls on Schiaparelli’s trademark pieces, such as her lobster dress, shoe hat, zips and “shocking pink,” but also the subtleties and lesser-known qualities of her character and work. Silhouettes also adopt her signature hourglass and bustle shapes. Schiaparelli played a key role in the Surrealist movement of the 1920s, collaborating with Salvador Dali and Alberto Giacometti and is considered the first designer to combine art and fashion, famed for her daring and innovative approach to clothing. The collection, which is not scheduled for retail, will be modelled on mannequins at the salons at Les Arts Décoratifs, where Lacroix showed his own final collection in 2009.
Text by Mhairi Graham