Haute Couture SS19: Maison Schiaparelli

ONE of the most iconic names in 20th century fashion, Schiaparelli has made a slow but steady resurrection since the news of the fashion house’s acquirement by Italian business man Diego Della.

Under the wing of acclaimed designer Marco Zanini, known for his resurgence of fashion houses Rochas and Halston, the label has returned to its surrealist roots. An ode to the brand’s hay-day, the SS19 collection takes inspiration from Schiaparelli’s vintage designs, iconic collections strongly influenced by the Surrealist art movement, which even included collaborations with acclaimed surrealist Salvador Dali. The collaborated pieces with Dali were Schiaparelli’s most famous, and are still hailed and displayed globally today, such as the extremely influential Lamb Cutlet hat.

The influence of Schiaparelli’s original designs is everywhere in the fashion houses latest collection. In particular, her fondness for illustration-style prints incorporated into the designs, a characteristic part of Schiaparelli’s surrealist style. The 3D element of Schiaparelli’s original designs is also seen through collections emphasis on embroidery, frills, and appliqué, however, some of this does lack the excitement and shock-factor that was so memorable in Schiaparelli’s vintage collections.

To say the collection is extravagantly glamorous would be an understatement. In comparison to its previous collections since the brand’s revival, the designs are much more bold, using a more diverse colour palette and more elaborate prints and patterns. In this collection, taking more risks has paid off well, reigniting the characteristically surrealist element that once fuelled Schiaparelli’s design.

There were many pieces that stand out in the collection, but perhaps the most exciting is the flamboyant red-tulle frilled gown, completed with a pair of star-framed sunglasses. Almost fairytale-like in design, the fashion house has a new found opulence, bringing the characteristic sense of wonder back to Schiaparelli. There is also an element of ancient Italian myth incorporated throughout, one of the most show-stopping pieces, a floor length gown with electric blue fur, printed with several different mythological creatures.

While it may be tempting to compare each of the collection’s pieces back to 1930s era Schiaparelli, it should be said that the brand, while respecting Schiaparelli’s artistic vision, is developing its own distinctive sense of style in its own right. Adapting the fashion house to a contemporary audience, Della has elevated Schiaparelli to a new level, bringing a new edginess to the brand that wasn’t present in previous collections.

Bold, vividly coloured, and, incredibly surrealist, Schiaparelli proves that it once again it is on top of Haute Couture, reviving the fashion houses distinctively wondrous design.

by Emma Hart

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