6 posts tagged "Schiaparelli"
Finally, something’s happening at Schiaparelli. After the house’s current owner, Diego Della Valle, announced his plans to reopen the storied maison last year, there had been no news about a creative director, or even a launch date. Until yesterday, when it was revealed that the Schiap revival is set for July, with a fifteen-piece capsule collection of Couture by Christian Lacroix. The 61-year-old, Paris-based couturier’s homage to Schiaparelli—which will go on display in her original salon at 21 Place Vendôme—will be the first in an annual series of collaborations in which artists will interpret the iconic designer’s wares. The house’s permanent creative director, however, has yet to be named. Here, Lacroix, who has largely been working on costume projects for operas and ballets around the globe since his departure from the couture catwalk in 2009, discusses the Schiaparelli revival and his forthcoming collection.
Schiaparelli is a legend, yet also mysterious; you referred to her as a sphinx. Are you at all intimidated by the undertaking?
This will perhaps sound pretentious, but this seems natural to me, almost obvious—let’s say logical. I do feel a link with her through many signs since I was a child. I’ll face her glance on a portrait and try to guess what she thinks…and I’ll tell you yes, she’s goddamned intimidating!
How did Mr. Della Valle approach you for this project?
We have known each other for more than thirty years. [We met] when I was working for Guy Paulin and Byblos in Italy. Later, he made my first shoes for the first Lacroix ready-to-wear show. And we have friends and collaborators in common.
Why were you drawn to this collaboration?
I’ve adored Schiap since my childhood. This kind of project that falls in between the history of costume and fashion was impossible for me to refuse [particularly because] I planned to be a fashion museum curator and became a stage designer after twenty-five years of couture.
Do you see any similarities between your and Schiaparelli’s aesthetics?
Of course I was very inspired by her work, mixing past and modernity, high and low, elegance and eccentricity. We are both Mediterranean characters inspired by Paris’ special flavor and style.
While many are excited to see new life breathed into Elsa Schiaparelli’s house, some are wary of the revival and feel her legacy should be left untouched. What is your response to this and what are your feelings on the revival?
When you enter 21 Place Vendôme, the place which never stopped being “her” home since the thirties, you feel something alive, far from nostalgia. Everything screams, “I’m still here, alive.” I think this is good timing and momentum [as long as] we don’t copy her but try to extract the quintessence of her style. Her heritage is too often reduced and simplified to only the crazy, surrealistic, and caricatural side of her clothes. [People] ignore how close to the practical, modern, pure aspect of a wardrobe she was, especially during the war. We have to epitomize this image of her. Continue Reading “Christian Lacroix Talks Schiaparelli” »
Last May, Diego Della Valle announced that he would be reviving the house of Schiaparelli. Today, after a year of speculation about who would design for the revived brand, Schiaparelli has announced that Christian Lacroix will pay homage to the house with a fifteen-piece capsule couture collection. The looks will be displayed at Schiaparelli’s original salon at 21 Place Vendôme in Paris this July. “In this persona incarnating a true aristocrat, one finds a spirit where mathematics and literature as well as poetry coexist: Elsa is a sacred sphinge [sic] who never ceases to interrogate us while offering us new enigmas as answers. Art, theater and cinema…my wish is to reposition Elsa at the center of her maison and on the stage from which she once seduced the world,” said Lacroix in a press release. Going forward, the maison will tap top names in the contemporary art world to interpret Schiaparelli’s designs. The future projects will be revealed at an annual rendezvous at the house’s Place Vendôme salon.
“We needed to find a way of translating the twenties into something that felt as new and modern and titillating as it was back in 1922,” said Catherine Martin—the designer behind the costumes for husband Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming The Great Gatsby film—during an intimate Q&A with Harold Koda at the Met yesterday evening. If there’s anything that can reignite the Jazz Age’s mystique, it’s Martin’s wares, which are at once painstakingly historically accurate (aside from a zipper here and there) and completely enchanting. The film, which opens on May 10 and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, boasts such fantasies as feathered frocks worn by the Fitzgerald-penned tale’s “girls in twin yellow dresses” (the looks were inspired by an actual twenties-era vaudevillian act), hordes of boater hats by Rosie Boylan, wigs made in England, and beach pajamas (for the elusive Jordan Baker).
Luhrmann and Martin’s fondness for Schiaparelli (the pair worked on the film for the Met’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibition), lent a surreal edge to the story’s infamous party scene. “Baz kept saying, ‘We need a lobster!’” recalled Martin. And he got one—the costumer crafted metallic crustacean headpieces for the showgirls at Gatsby’s raucous soiree (below). Continue Reading “Catherine Martin Talks Gatsby” »
Through its latest exhibition, 1931, Face-Dos-Profil (1931, Front-Back-Side), Paris’ Galliera Museum offers a detailed look at the fashions of the 1930s. But the photographs featured in the show, selected from a collection of 10,000 copyrighted documents from the period (courtesy of Paris’ patent office) look more like mug shots of well-dressed delinquents than haute relics. The vintage snaps depict couture-clad ladies posing in front of a three-sided mirror and offer complete 360-degree views of the 1930s’ most covetable designs (think beach pajamas, romantic satin ruffle dresses, sheaths constructed with a complex system of figure-hugging seams, and sumptuous evening wrap coats in silk velvet and white ermine) from the era’s most sought-after names (like Schiaparelli and Mainbocher).
The images, you see, served to prevent knockoffs. In 1931, a large-scale counterfeit clothing operation—which had illegally obtained couture sketches—was uncovered in Paris. Not surprisingly, that same year, a record number of couture houses (almost 50 in all), including Madeleine Vionnet and Lanvin, patented the hats, bags, dresses, and shoes from their collections. Curator Sylvie Lécailler juxtaposes these patent documents with a few actual pieces and fashion spreads from the era. While it’s not the most glamorous peek back at fashion’s past, the show certainly reminds us that imitations are not to be accepted—not then, not now, not ever.
1931 Face-Dos-Profil runs from March 28 through July 6 at the Galerie du Crédit Municipal de Paris, 55 rue des Francs-Bourgeois 75004, Paris.
“I’m in charge of all the magic,” says costume designer William Ivey Long—a veritable Broadway legend—of his latest project. Having been in the biz for over thirty years, Long is in the midst of finishing the costumes (over three hundred of them) for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which, starring Laura Osnes, will go into previews on January 25. His studio—a former strip club in Tribeca—is lined with reference images of Catherine de Médicis (she’s his muse for the wicked stepmother), sketches of the flower-, butterfly-, and vegetable-inspired outfits, and material for his fairy-tale looks, like faux fur, rich green brocade, and silver neoprene-lined leather that will be made into suits of armor. “These can’t be everyday clothes!” he quips.
Of course, little about Long is “everyday.” He’s won five Tony awards, created all the costumes for Broadway’s revival of Chicago—now in it’s eighteenth year—including the saucy Roxie Hart dresses for Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley, and Robin Givens. He designed the flamboyant space suits for Siegfried and Roy’s Mirage Hotel show, dressed the cast of The Producers, and created the playful fifties ensembles for Hairspray. Modestly styled in a navy blazer and khakis (hailing from North Carolina, he’s a Southern boy at heart), Long sits down with Style.com to talk about working with couturier Charles James, living next door to the late artist Louise Bourgeois, and realizing the fantasy that is Cinderella.
Have you always worked out of this studio?
I used to work out of a brownstone in Chelsea. I moved in here three years ago, on Halloween night. I sold my last house to my next-door neighbor, Louise Bourgeois, for her to turn into her museum. She was fantastic and so supportive. She used to come and see the costumes, and near the end, I had to bring them to her. She would give me assignments and ask me to bring her specific things from my travels. I was so excited when I was able to find ancient tapestries, because her family, the Bourgeois family, for centuries restored and cleaned tapestries. She loved looking at all the fabrics, and she would use them to make various things, her little totems. She loved turning existing clothes that she had worn into her sculptures.
Let’s talk slippers. Did you know that, allegedly, Cinderella’s shoes were supposed to be ermine instead of glass? Some say it was an error in the seventeenth-century transcript.
No! Fur slippers would have been very surreal. And comfy. But guess who’s making my glass slippers? Stuart Weitzman! They’re made out of clear plastic. Apparently, in the seventies, when Weitzman first started, he had glass Cinderella high heels in one of his collections. Well, they were plastic made to look like glass.
How did you come to work with Stuart Weitzman?
It’s a complicated thing with producer connections, etc. Usually I don’t have such exalted playmates. Stuart is so charming. He fit the shoe on Laura Osnes’ foot for the first time the other day, and he was just like the prince. But I’m working with eight shops on the actual costumes. I’m in charge of the “magical” dress transformations, so my shops have to be knowledgeable about the intricacies of this and that. Nobody comes onstage to help the actors. They do it themselves. And it doesn’t black out, there’s no puff of smoke. They really do the magic in front of you.