Farida Khelfa, the newly installed ambassador at the house of Schiaparelli, held 58 appointments at the company’s freshly renovated Place Vendôme atelier yesterday. There’s no new designer at the brand that Schiap built—Diego Della Valle of Tod’s is reportedly taking meetings with candidates and an announcement is expected to be made in September—but there’s plenty of curiosity around the label’s rebirth. “All the great couturiers know about Schiap,” Khelfa said. “Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Azzedine Alaïa, they’ve all come to see the place.”
In fact, Alaïa was still lounging in the atelier’s white salon (pictured) when this reporter arrived, sharing a story about a letter given to him by one of Schiap’s former lovers. Alaïa, who was friends with Schiaparelli, was supposed to deliver it to her, but he never did out of shyness and fear. Asked if he still has the letter, nearly 40 years after her death, he nodded yes. It would make a smart addition to the refurbished space, which already includes Giacometti pieces found in the Schiaparelli archives, eyeglasses by Man Ray, and a Dalí sculpture, as well as furniture designed by Vincent Darré.
Come the Couture shows next January, the brand will show its first new collection here. For now, though, the hunt is still on for a designer. “Schiaparelli was not about good taste, she was about having an opinion,” Khelfa said. “It doesn’t have to be jolie, it has be strong. It has to be forte.”