Sunday, 26 August 2012

21 Place Vendôme: “Prêt-à-couture” by Schiaparelli


Schiaparelli Opens Refurbished 21 Place Vendôme

Schiaparelli, the historically renowned fashion house launched by Elsa Schiaparelli, has reopened a couture salon at 21 Place Vendôme – the exact building where Elsa established her first salon in 1935. Her Surrealism-inspired designs and collaborations with Surrealist artists thrust Schiaparelli into the fashion world’s spotlight until 1954, when she closed her Paris store.

The original salon is now occupied by retailer Dubail, but the fashion house has redecorated the third floor, using bright colors withpale Forties furniture and adorning it with splashes of Surrealist influence: a lobster-shaped chest of drawers, designed by Vincent Darré, clearly looking to Salvador Dalí, chairs by Giò Ponti and a rug by Fernand Léger. The fashion house may have a home, but it does not yet have a patriarch: the Italian entrepreneur Diego Della Valle (Tod's, Hogan, Roger Vivier and Fay), who acquired the firm in 2006, has yet to announce a head designer and will neither confirm nor deny any speculative guesses.  

“Prêt-à-couture” is the nomenclature Della Valle has chosen for Schiaparelli, which is plotting a small fashion show at its salons during Paris Couture Week next January. But, this projected of “Prêt-à-couture” is not the sole revival of old myths: Madeleine Vionnet, Mainbocher, Charles Worth - all these Maisons are expected to become reanimated.
“The idea with Schiaparelli is to propose the brand with all its modernity, and represent dreams, art, and all the most sophisticated things we can do,” says Della Valle. “This brand doesn’t have to get involved in the frenetic world of numbers, accounts, and dimensions, but it just has to express itself at its best. The heart of this project will be the Parisian maison in Place Vendôme, in the original location where the first atelier was.”
Issuing from that atelier will be “accessories, fragrances, and cosmetics, along with some clothing” beginning February. Rumors that John Galliano would helm the label were denied by his spokesperson as well as one for Tod’s Group, Della Valle’s company. The designer is expected to be announced in October in Paris.

“Do you like my new home?” Farida Khelfa, the new face of  Schiaparelli, trilled, leading a tour of the sumptuous and whimsical new couture salons for Schiaparelli on the 21 Place Vendôme in Paris.

Farida Khelfa

“People want exclusive things,” said Khelfa. Named spokeswoman of the house in May (see my previous article 'MET Gala 2012 | Schiaparelli's Come Back'). Khelfa, who has been a muse and close collaborator of designers Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier, said the revival project is being fanned by the “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, on until August 19th, 2012, - she was joined in an interview by Schiaparelli’s recently appointed chief executive officer, Camilla Schiavone, previously brand manager of L’Oréal’s fragrance division.

Khelfa hosted an intimate cocktail in July 2012,  for the likes of Carine Roitfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Sharon Stone, Jacques Grange, Victoire de Castellane and Haider Ackermann to show off the reception rooms, which boast stunning views of the historic square and its Napoleon-topped column.

Born in Rome in 1890, Elsa Schiaparelli was known for designs heavily influenced by Surrealist art, such as her Shoe hat and Tear dress. Schiaparelli had moved into 21 Place Vendôme in 1935, opening a store on the place (now occupied by retailer Dubail), with ateliers upstairs. The new couture salons occupy the third floor, with offices and ateliers under construction on four and five. (Schiaparelli closed her Paris house in 1954 and died in 1973.)

Farida Khelfa & Diego Della Valle

Carine Roitfeld & Haider Ackermann

Jean Paul Gaultier & Haider Ackermann

Sharon Stone & Inès de la Fressange
“Schiaparelli has this magic sound. It’s untouched,” Khelfa told WWD. “It’s really the DNA of fashion. Every designer has referenced her at some point. Ignoring her would be like a painter ignoring Picasso.”

 Catch a glimpse of Schiaparelli's wonderful new website!

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Acessories 

Photography by © Dominique Maitre / © Christoph Roué for © WWD


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