“It’s hard to be a God, but even more difficult to imitate one” – such an idea certainly at least once occurred to every modern couturier, leading a once legendary, enlisted in the history of fashion, brand. Bertrand Guyon, creating a third couture collection for the revived 4 years ago Schiaparelli house was not looking for easy ways. Inspiration for the new season he drew in one of the most high-profile and associative shows of the eccentric Elsa: “The Circus Collection” of 1938.
A brief excursion into history. The pre-Second World war years of the last century. Paris is the fashion capital and sets the tone for the entire world. On the French catwalks the ball is ruled by female designers, each of which creates a unique, recognizable style look. Gabrielle Chanel liberates and equalizes in rights with men, Madeleine Vionnet drapes in imitation of Greek goddesses, Elsa Schiaparelli shocks. A client of the later, coming to the Paris Opera in Elisa’s dress, is poised to overshadow what is happening on the stage, attracting the attention of the entire audience.
Life and fashion of the Place Vendome boutique hostess are intertwined in an endless feast that best contributes to the atmosphere of those days in the City of Light, Love and Freedom.
Our protagonist is surrounded by the brightest characters of the art world: artists, poets, composers, and their gorgeous muses. Everything is allowed! And the brave Italian, not fettered with modesty of northerners, creates looks that amaze and affect her contemporaries with extravagance. Fashion on the verge of a costume ball with a giant shrimp as a headwear. Elegance by Schiaparelli is a “heavy chic”, which main “weakness” is directly related to the historical context. The «shocking pink» (fuchsia) as an antipode to Parisian reticence could only exist and enjoy a crazy success at that crazy time.
Twenty first century mixes all cards, constantly drawing inspiration from the archives of the twentieth. The task of Bertrand, which, by the way, the designer handles brilliantly, is in a soft adaptation of the famous fashion codes of the house to the new realities.
To start with, Monsieur Guyon sets the palette. The colors of the night sky – black and dark blue – as the designer discovers from the archives, for his predecessor were no less popular than the striking pink and turquoise (which, of course, also found a place in the collection).
The cut becomes architectural, pads accent the shoulders’ line, oblique slits on skirts lend fatality to the silhouette. An ensemble of rethought “clown” bloomers, complemented with Picasso patchwork motifs bustier is not shocking (this place on today’s catwalks is already occupied) but adds a moderate eccentricity. So as a bright bustier dress with a flared ankle-length skirt in color degrade, inspired by a harlequin costume. Familiar rhombs appear on a beige jacket. Here, like a Tibetan sand mandala, they are lined with hundreds of tiny beads – this is an haute couture after all!
On draped evening dresses of translucent silk and architectural faille are scattered constellations of the Milky Way that evoke a circus dome. While taffeta sets are covered with images of bizarre animals – inhabitants of the phantasmagoric Cirque du Soleil.
The designer did not forget about the symbols so dear to the heart of ardent Elsa – the heart and lips. Again, flashy «chic dur» gives way to a refined elegance – the main fad of the young Frenchman.
Photo credits: Sciaparelli