PARIS, France — Bertrand Guyon’s Schiaparelli woman has meandered through the house archives with the playfulness they warrant — and in a way he has picked up many of Elsa’s favourite clichés and turned them into modern signposts for the brand. Though ‘millennial’ is not quite the target group for a haute couture-only brand just yet, when a transparent, crystal strewn parka made an entrance for look three with an iPhone and earbuds clearly visible in its see-through patch pocket, it posed questions as to the evolution of haute couture’s tradition for the next generation.
Will they prefer their Schiaparelli lobster picked out in red crystals on a white leather moto-combi than on a bias-cut gown, perhaps? It was questions like these that peppered Guyon’s latest effort, one he called ‘Shocking Society’ in homage to the highly-evolved women who surrounded Elsa in her heyday. Weeding through the meticulous show notes, one could find Meret (Oppenheim), Nancy (Cunard), Dora (Maar) and Marie Laure (de Noailles) amongst the more abstract garment descriptions — all muses, friends and clients to Elsa whose sense of style was as eclectic as this Autumn offer.
From silk faille boiler suits to plissé check skirts and puzzle face portrait jackets, Guyon alighted upon the sort of schizophrenic diversity that Schiaparelli herself was known for – linked not to extravagance but to the pragmatic pursuits of tennis or riding a bicycle, for example. That said, daywear and separates have not been Schiaparelli’s strong point in recent years, and it was the red carpet flou that ultimately carried this collection as it has season’s past, with gowns floating in contrasting tiers and ribbons of crèpe or tulle that nodded not only to Elsa’s wicked way with colour but to Guyon’s Valentino past. The simplest were the best: splicing pastels and jewel tones in unexpected permutations that left the gimmick of embroidered bows and trompe l’oeil jewels for dead.