Paris Haute Couture S/S 2018: Schiaparelli

Just a couple of days ago, final touches were underway for the hautest week in Paris.  Beads were spinning on the very last embroidery, fabrics were hand-woven, ornaments were carefully attached to the delicate fabrics. Bertrand Guyon, creative director of Schiaparelli, presented today the new Spring/Summer 2018 haute couture collection in the magical space of Schiaparelli Place Vendôme house. A summer take on crystal faceted beads, glass tubes and white lace dominated the runway. Guyon offered us a “Pagan Goddess, a summer night, a dream mythology.” While revisiting Elsa Schiaparelli’s archives, he decided to re-ignite the original Pagan collection from 1937. It was a proper homage to Madame Schiaparelli, completed with details of nature, painterly touches and golden butterflies.

Guyon brought us haute couture filled with ethnic allusions, inspired mainly by the mix of different cultures. He offered strong contrasts, sharp tailoring and surrealistic references. This is a collection of many structured and fluid fabrics, three-dimensional plastic fringes and intricate couture mastery in snakeskin. Everything started with a Lesage embroidery swatch from Fall 1940 Schiaparelli haute couture collection featuring mother-of-pearl flowers. The embroidery came on a black dress that Elsa Schiaparelli owned and later donated to London’s Victoria & Albert museum. For this collection, a wedding dress was designed, sprinkled with irises— one of Elsa Schiaparelli’s favorite flowers. Each bloom was embroidered once again by Lesage following the same original technique yet embellished with silver plate, Swarovski multi-faceted crystals and silver metal thread. The long ivory silk crepe cape-gown was scattered with 54,795  Swarovski crystal-hearted mother-of-pearls. Further to Schiaparelli history of innovative materials, Guyon collaborated with independant female textile designer to create checked knitwear made of nylon yarn intertwined with Swarovski crystal beads. The exclusive savoir-faire merges 3D embroidery with almost invisible knitwear. Transparent, light and soft, it gives traditional knitting and unexpected volume and contemporary texture. Illuminated by a tartan of black jet and grege beads of over 2.4 million facets, the ruffled dress, made of this hybrid material, seems to defy gravity. Snake tales were, perhaps, best seen in the appliqué patchwork on a skirt and jacket in raffia with padlock-embroidered 3D maxi-pockets worn by the iconic model Alek Wek. The runway opened with divine colour-block cloak cashmere coat in vibrant shades of red, mustard, blue and green on the subtle nude base. The following looks were more delicate, sculpting the body with a feeling of light breeze. L’Afrique chic was primarily felt in profusion of structured maxi jackets in wool tapestry in vivid colours and animal prints on Goddess-worthy dresses. Guyon proposed statement pockets and paradoxically beautiful bugs. Figure flattering silhouettes, tactile V-necks and sheere materials guarantee for a sensual, yet contemporary collection with a deity feel.

Photo credit: Vogue Paris (runway), The Impression (cover)