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Schiaparelli’s Fall 2014 Haute Couture Offering Proves the Brand Needs to Refocus


The Scene: Valentino‘s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, Azzedine Alaïa, Christian Louboutin, Roger Vivier’s Bruno Frisoni and Inès de la Fressange all sat front row to see the Marco Zanini-designed collection.

The Inspiration: “Controlled excess; I tried to set myself free,” Zanini explained to WWD.

The Look: The designer’s controlled excess inspiration came through vividly in his lineup’s supersized proportions, which could have easily veered on the clownish side were it not for their sharp Elsa Schiaparelli-influenced tailoring. The looks may not have crossed the line into clownish territory, but they no doubt fit into a niche that holds far from wide appeal — squirrel, pigeon and rat prints, anyone? While there was much to find appealing in the boxy looks, high-waist pants and shocking pink velvet (Elsa’s signature color), a zoot suit, a heart print dress with black dotted accents, gorilla fur outerwear and a vertically colorblocked dress were far from anything most people would deem fashionable. The brand, which is still working on its re-launch, is focusing on couture, but perhaps it would be better served focusing on accessories. The collection was dominated by oddball pieces that, while hard to imagine anyone effectively pulling off, would make great springboards for handbags. Case in point, compare the gorilla furs with the furry clutches and ask yourself which ones you’d rather be wearing.

The Accessories: Playful Stephen Jones hats, the best of which were turban-inspired (and a particularly memorable one that was inspired by cone-shaped party hats), pointy-toed ankle boots, bold sunglasses, fur clutches and fur-lined gloves.

The Beauty: Muted faces and lips, strong straight brows and shoulder-length hair with messy bangs all added to the collection’s dramatic effect without distracting from the clothing.

The Takeaway: Shy of John Galliano drama or Armani Privé wearability, it appears that Schiaparelli would be better served focusing on accessories and then perhaps ready-to-wear.

Images: IMAXtree

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