Fall 2014 Haute Couture: Schiaparelli

Marco Zanini’s second interpretation of Haute Couture for the House of Schiaparelli, now fully alive and kicking after the well-known revival last season, was all about the shocking factor. In the most resourceful of ways though charging up the atelier with fresh meets classic bon vivance, forget James M Cain’s Mildred Pierce, this was Zanini’s Mildred Fierce. All the exaggerated gestures picked up where last season left off, though its predecessor may have been a just little bit more ‘safe’, instead there were no hang-ups and one has to think that Elsa would really approve.

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Ginormous, 1940s gone haywire, padded shoulders, overly outré hats, lashings of fur and other oversized wonders were the staples, outranking twee camp by instead camping up resistance, just look at the leopard print catwalk and hot pink backdrop. Make no mistake, the industrial-strength palazzo pants paired with a gloopy satin blouse featuring an unbashful bow, and elsewhere, the sweeping full-swing baby-pink mohair coat emblazoned with a sparkly ES embellishment on the chest aren’t the clothes of girlish models; these are the robes of women who are quite sure of themselves.

Suffice to say, they were ill-fitting on the models, not at all in terms of the measurements, but in terms of character. They were all such marvels that they carried themselves very well nonetheless, bound by a dose of surrealism that was still rational enough for 2014’s couture buyer and not short of more considered motifs, like witty hand-painted prints and high-grade treated silk-velvet gowns.

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Last but not least, the Stephen Jones hats had all the whimsy of the mainstay milliners of the early 20th century such as Suzanne Talbot and Paulette, in a final reminiscence of what Schiaparelli once was. Zanini himself suggested that, “Schiaparelli is so vivid as an image in your mind”, what’s most interesting for us then as spectator to the shock is seeing how the image in his mind will alter from season to season.

by Liam Feltham

Images courtesy of Style.com


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