Christian Lacroix Returns With An Homage to Schiaparelli

With his colorful exuberance and amusing but architecturally precise draping, Christian Lacroix is logical choice to be the first artist to pay tribute to Schiap. Suzy Menkes reports on the lomg-awaited rebranding of a legend:
By
Published: July 1, 2013

PARIS — “I was asked for my vision of Schiaparelli, and I feel so far from couture,” said Christian Lacroix, holding a “Schiap” lobster hat beside the first fashion creations he has done since his house was shuttered four years ago and he turned to stage costumes.

Christian Lacroix, designing for Schiaparelli for autumn 2013 couture.02iht-fschiap02-span-articleLarge bts-schiaparelli04-640x959 bts-schiaparelli03-640x426 bts-schiaparelli02 bts-schiaparelli01

But in this current Paris autumn 2013 season, the one-time couturier has created a fusion of his own shapely silhouettes, joyful colors and intense embellishment with the ideas of Elsa Schiaparelli, the surrealist designer of the 1930s.

A carousel spun Monday to show the Lacroix interpretations — from a scarlet military jacket with jet embroidery; through a peach hip-line pouffe over a goat’s fur skirt; to a dress in shocking pink, the color that Schiap invented.

Since the house of Schiaparelli was bought in 2006 by the Italian luxury entrepreneur Diego Della Valle, it has been a sleeping beauty. Mr. Lacroix’s involvement, for just one season, is designed to buff up the brand, by showing an 18-piece collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The same opportunity will be offered annually to different artists, and a full-time designer will soon be appointed.

But nobody, not even Mr. Della Valle himself, questioned on Sunday, knows how the Schiap/Lacroix story will unfold, although a taut purple jacket with narrow blue pants could walk right out in the Paris streets, even with its grass-green taffeta neckpiece.

It was a joy to see again Mr. Lacroix’s intense, painterly shades and how he can turn black into a color with shards of decoration and nuances of light. Schiap embroideries from the Lesage archives were used deftly as embellishment.

Mr. Lacroix is adamant that fashion is behind him and that costumes are now his fashion. “But I swear that without Schiap I would never have done couture because everything in her work was inspirational for me: the colors, shapes and her way of using the past,” he said. ‘’This is my homage.”–via Suzy Menkes

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