Subversive Schiaparelli makes a Shocking return to Paris fashion 2013 and on sale to no one…

It may be Christian Lacroixs “Rosebud” moment. As a fifteen-year-old boy, on, as he recalls, “a rainy day when I was very bored,” he discovered a cache of bound fashion magazines from the 1930s and 40s in his grandparents’ attic, and was spellbound by the whimsical creations of Elsa Schiaparelli that he found within them.

Since then, he explains, “I’ve always been in love with this period, from 1938 to 58.” (Schiaparelli closed her couture establishment in 1954). “For me it was the summit of elegance . . . I have this ‘lost paradise’ feeling about a time when culture was spirited, light, luminous, and full of fantasy. And that is what Schiaparelli was really all about—and I love the way an Italian created part of Paris glamour!”

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So Lacroix was intrigued when he was invited by Diego Della Valle to create a capsule haute couture collection for the house that della Valle acquired in 2006. Lacroix imagined “an abstraction of Schiaparelli—a gesture—between stage costume and couture.”

“I didn’t want to be a prisoner of the archive,” he adds. Instead, he delved into the encyclopedic fashion history image bank in his mind to revisit classic Schiap icons in a fresh and invigorated way, a message reflected in the whimsical settings installed for the day at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, including an evocation of the birdcage that once decorated Schiap’s Place Vendôme boutique, now filled with flowering branches on which iPads nestled, with videos of a twittering songbird on each one.

Lacroix updated the fashion references too. Thus, Schiap’s celebrated sari dresses of 1935—inspired by the sensation that the glamorous teenage Princess Kapurthala created when she visited Paris—find its contemporary echo in a beautifully draped dress of grass-green chiffon, whilst the practical pockets that the designer created during the Occupation, become an element in a puffball-skirted coat that recalls Lacroix’s own 1987 pouf dress. And the Directoire collection that she launched immediately after the war is reflected in a shapely, Regency collared jacket with a dramatic pouter pigeon blouse and jabot of almond-green satin—now worn with lean, inky velvet pants. Lacroix’s reinterpretations capture Schiap’s antic spirit but in a way that seems intriguing—and wearable. The famed Lesage embroideries are deconstructed and scattered in abstract formation over fitted jackets worn with pants.

Meanwhile, the 1938 Circus collection that has come to symbolize Schiaparelli’s playfully surrealist designs was reflected not only in another set—a gleaming silver carousel—but in a gown of sugar-almond pink and brown candy-stripe satin, whipped into an abstract modern ball gown, and in the pierrot hats, with their painterly sequin-embroidered spots or pom-poms of brightly colored fox.

The Lacroix-Schiap collaboration is intended as a one-off extravaganza (Marco Zanini is rumored to be taking over the ready-to-wear direction of the house), but these enchanting pieces remind one what the couture week lost when Lacroix closed his own house, and make one yearn for this to be an ongoing experiment.

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If you are interested in finding out more – check out this link from Britannica:

Enjoy reading the history with a woman that simply adored Dali!