Diego Della Valle Brings New Life to Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli (left) and her lobster dress, as worn by Wallis Simpson in a Cecil Beaton photograph.

 

Not since Alber Elbaz breathed new life into Lanvin and Nicolas Ghesquière revitalized Balenciaga has a fashion-house revival been more anticipated than that of Schiaparelli, whose archives and name were purchased back in 2006 by Tod’s chairman and Roger Vivier resuscitator Diego Della Valle. The brand, heavily influenced by Surrealism, has been dormant since 1954, but Della Valle plans to soon roll out a line of custom suits and dresses, as well as accessories, perfume and jewelry.

For purposes of authenticity, Della Valle waited until Schiaparelli’s original Paris atelier and boutique—at 21 Place Vendôme—became available. Now, the building has been restored, with spaces dedicated to design, presentation, fit, manufacture and sales. Meanwhile, the salons, which will be used to hold meetings with clients and press, feature some of the designer’s iconic collaborators and sources of inspiration, including photographs of Salvador Dali, drawings by Jean Cocteau, and sculptures by Alberto Giacometti.

The lobster dress she designed in collaboration with Dali that Wallis Simpson wore in a series of Cecil Beaton photographs has become a paragon of fashion surrealism.

Schiaparelli, who began her career in knitwear, became famous for her iconoclastic suits and dresses; the lobster dress she designed in collaboration with Dali that Wallis Simpson wore in a series of Cecil Beaton photographs has become a paragon of fashion surrealism. Earlier this year, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art explored the associations between the work of Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada in an exhibition titled “Impossible Conversations.”

Farida Khelfa, longtime muse of Jean Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaïa, has been chosen as the brand’s ambassador, and will travel the world bringing Schiaparelli’s legend to life. The identity of the new creative director should be revealed in the next few weeks, with a first collection slated for the Paris couture shows of Spring 2013. 

Diego Della Valle and Farida Khelfa (left) and Elsa Schiaparelli (right).

From “Impossible Conversations” at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

 

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