August 20 2014

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17 posts tagged "Elsa Schiaparelli"

Putting Off The Ritz

------- contributing editor and party reporter Darrell Hartman circles the city and, occasionally, the globe in the line of duty. In a new column, he reports on the topics—whatever they may be at whatever given moment—that are stirring the social set.

As usual at the most recent Paris Couture collections, there were openings—including a big one for Louis Vuitton’s haute joaillerie store on Place Vendôme. But this time around, there was a major closing, too. As just about everyone knows by now, the Ritz is shutting its doors at the end of July. Not forever, just for two years and change. Of course, to a lot of fashion people, that is forever.

“Everybody’s talking about it,” Claire Courtins-Clarins told me at the Louis Vuitton party. We were, incidentally, at the Ritz; Vuitton had booked the hotel’s pool room for one last go-round. The Atelier Versace show had happened there two nights before—poignantly, considering it was Gianni Versace’s old venue. (That’s Gianni, below, with the usual clatch of supermodels backstage at the Ritz during one of his Couture shows.) Immediately after Donatella’s runway came down, a VIP section went up, for an after-party with a performance by M.I.A.

If the hotel owes its place in the fashion annals to anyone, however, it’s Coco Chanel. The designer lived there from 1934 until 1971, albeit on the less glamorous Rue Cambon side. “Poor Chanel, I use the front door of the Ritz, she must use the back,” Elsa Schiaparelli liked to snipe. Continue Reading “Putting Off The Ritz” »

Prada: Her Conversation With Elsa


The Costume Institute’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations show opens to the public on Thursday, following tonight’s red-carpet gala. The press preview this morning provided an early look at an exhibition that juxtaposes the fashions of two of our industry’s most provocative practitioners with videos of imagined conversations between them. Miuccia Prada plays herself and the late Elsa Schiaparelli is brought to life by the actress Judy Davis using real quotes from the designer’s autobiography, Shocking Life. The clips, which were directed by Baz Luhrmann, riff on not only Vanity Fair‘s 1930′s column “Impossible Interviews” but also Louis Malle’s 1981 film, My Dinner With Andre.

The designers are both female, Italian, and feminist, but they disagree more often that not. Schiaparelli: “Dress designing is to me not a profession, but an art.” Prada: “Fashion designers make clothes and they have to sell them. We have less creative freedom than artists. Maybe nothing is art. Who cares?”

Still, the curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton often make compelling connections between the designers’ work. The overlaps, for example, between Prada’s Fall 2012 Ugly Chic printed pantsuits (which, of course, reference her own 1990′s take on the 1970′s) and Schiaparelli’s circa-1930′s version are uncanny despite the nearly 80 years that separate them. The exhibition is divided into themes. In “The Surreal Body,” the show’s final section, dresses from each designer are encased in Lucite and juxtaposed with photos of the other’s work. “Schiaparelli is pulled out of the past, made more relevant, and Prada’s contemporary aesthetic is given a rich resonance,” Koda said during the preview, citing production designer Nathan Crowley’s “crisp, timeless” sets. He was nonetheless quick to point out that Prada resists the comparisons. “She was struck by the similarities between two pleated dresses, her own trompe l’oeil and Schiap’s 3-D. But she told me the eras that she looks at, that’s she’s interested in, are the fifties, sixties, and seventies. ‘I really don’t look at Schiaparelli,’ she said.”

Conflict, Malle could’ve told us, makes for good conversation.

Schiap Is Back


Ever since Diego Della Valle bought the name and the archive of Elsa Schiaparelli’s legendary house, he’s kept his plans for its future mum. But the opening of the Schiaparelli/Prada show at the Met and tonight’s Costume Institute Gala made the timing perfect for a big announcement: Schiaparelli is coming back. (Della Valle was on hand this morning for the exhibition’s press conference.) The revived label has no designer yet attached, but it does have a spokeswoman: Farida Khelfa (pictured), muse to Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier, who will reportedly wear vintage Schiaparelli to tonight’s gala.

“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.

Photo: Dominique Charriau / Getty Images

Will You Keep It Surreal This Season?


With Impossible Conversations, the Schiaparelli/Prada Costume Institute exhibit fast approaching, perhaps it’s no surprise that surrealism has again found its way into fashion’s collective (un)conscious. Elsa Schiaparelli famously collaborated with the likes of Salvador Dalí, and Miuccia Prada has done more for the cause of surreal style than anyone since. And there were more than a few designs on the Fall runways that echoed the theme.

At Lanvin, Alber Elbaz and Elie Top nodded at artists like Man Ray and Joan Miró with playful costume jewelry such as crystal eye brooches and a chain belt with plastic lips. Diane von Furstenberg referenced the movement, too, with interlocking hands on a body-hugging dress. Some designs, like Mary Katrantzou‘s digitally printed labyrinth gown, made the surreal wearable, and some, like Stephen Jones’ spiny headpieces for Giles (left), seemed destined to stay on the runway—or perhaps, one day, the museum gallery.

CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW, and let us know if you’ll be keeping it surreal this season.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Lacroix’s Ballet Costumes Get Their Own Exhibition, Mary Katrantzou’s Typewriter Dress, And More…


Christian Lacroix is the latest designer to be honored with a museum exhibit. His Swarovski-decorated designs for La Source, a 2011 production of a nineteenth-century ballet, will be showcased at the National Costume Museum in Moulins, France. [WWD]

Mary Katrantzou is known for her hyper-realistic digital prints, but a typewriter collector in Switzerland thought one of the designer’s Fall 2012 dresses (pictured) was a bit too literal in inspiration. Adwoa Bagalini, who runs the blog Retro Tech Geneva, wrote Katrantzou a friendly letter pointing out the similarities to her typewriter photo. The designer admitted the correlation and sent Bagalini her own typewriter dress. [Racked]

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who were appointed as creative directors of Superga in September 2011, are set to unveil their latest capsule shoe collection for the label later this month at Harvey Nichols. They have also revealed that they will be doing a Superga range under their label The Row. [Vogue U.K.]

The latest industry rumor isn’t about a Dior appointment—but rather, the house’s former designer John Galliano. Hint reports that Galliano may be heading to Schiaparelli. With the Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibit Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion, it would be a timely comeback for the Italian house. [Hint]

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /