Schiaparelli: A fashionable Noah’s Ark
This was unmistakably a Schiaparelli haute couture show – from the insects buzzing on the soundtrack to the models wearing feathered flamingo masks.
One could only imagine that the founder would have loved the collection, containing so many homages to her oeuvre, and fondness for the animal kingdom. From the shocking pink silk moiré gown, large enough for a Renaissance cardinal, topped by a pink butterfly head; to the magnificent catwoman look, with its mix of cheetah, leopard and zebra prints cut with 3D pockets and worn by a model with a golden feline mask with bristling six-inch whiskers. It was named Gattopardo, Italian for leopard. For even though Schiaparelli lived and worked in New York and, above all, Paris, she was born in Rome.
The house even illuminated the gilded fresco ceiling of the Palais Garnier opera house in Schiaparelli shocking pink just so the message was very clear. Bathing the magnificent opera house in a brilliant light.
In between the hyper fantasy – some very fine clothes, whether the razor sharp, sapphire blue pants suit or the excellent degradé leopard jacquard jacket, named Trastevere, for the ancient neighborhood in Rome on the right bank of the Tiber. Plus, an appearance by Elsa’s favorite crustacean – two silver jeweled lobsters embroidered onto a midnight blue velvet dress.
No wonder the house’s creative director Bertrand Guyon named the collection “Schiaparelli Animalia Fantasia."
That said, Elsa was a couturier who wanted the women she dress to look powerful, whereas this show suffered from multiple wardrobe malfunctions. One model fell to her knees, several stumbled badly and four of them were forced to hike up their dresses at the finale in order to make it around the parquet catwalk.
In a word, that really should never happen in Paris couture. Especially not at Schiaparelli.
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