First came the announcement that the fabled house of Schiaparelli had been acquired by Italian financier and Tod's owner Diego Della Valle way, way back in May 2007. Much speculation ensued about the identity of the eventual designer who would be entrusted with reviving the house until it dragged on for so long that everyone lost interest and moved on.
Then, in May 2012, Della Valle announced that the uber-elegant Farida Khelfa, muse to both Jean Paul Gauthier and Azzedine Alaia, had been appointed brand ambassadress, a move that calls to mind Della Valle's choice of the equally elegant Ines de la Fressange to guide designer Bruno Frisoni's revival of the Roger Vivier brand a decade ago. Everyone applauded and speculation about an imminent appointment of a designer began anew. Moreover, Ms. Khelfa announced at last November's IHT Luxury Conference in Rome that the brand would be unveiling a haute couture collection this coming July. Cue renewed speculation and excitement but still no designer.
Last week, we learned from WWD that Marco Zanini (an alumnus of Versace and Halston currently ensconced at Rochas) perhaps may be headed to Schiaparelli (the leak remains unconfirmed to date) while yesterday, it was announced that Christian Lacroix will be designing the brand's upcoming couture collection. The latter will be a one-off collection composed of fifteen pieces which will reinterpret Schiaparelli's most iconic pieces. According to press reports, his mini-collection will then be followed by various artist collaborations, a nod to the founder's affection for the surrealist movement, details of which often found their way into her couture creations.
I'll be perfectly honest. I'm just a little bit baffled by the unfolding of the Schiaparelli relaunch. No doubt this stems in part from the fact that Della Valle's orchestration of the Roger Vivier brand revival has become a virtual blue print for operations of this type for its graceful restraint and flawless execution. I simply don't understand why the house of Schiaparelli needs a haute couture collection designed by one designer and a pret-a-porter collection designed by another. I also don't understand why we need a one-off collection revisiting Schiaparelli's most iconic designs. Wouldn't an updated version of her most successful designs (like the updated Roger Vivier Pilgrim buckle shoe) be the key to seducing the monied customer with a discerning eye and a taste for whimsical details? Then again, what do I know? I'm just a consumer.
We'll all just have to wait some more.
The Luxe Chronicles