The Magic of Heritage
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the recently re-opened Maison Schiaparelli a journey through time, magic and heritage. The legendary house in the heart of The Place Vendome was re-opened last July during the Fall Winter Haute Couture; Diego de la Valle bought the sleeping beauty a few years ago and decided to wake her up slowly but sweetly. Instead of immediately re-launching a Couture collection he wanted to bring back the spirit of the eccentric Elsa, who was a true visionary at the beginning of the 20th century. Her unique social circle (intellectuals, artists, writers) eccentric friendships (Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard), vivid imagination mixed with an natural marketing sense help her create one of the most interesting couture houses in history. I would think of her a mix of Victor and Rolf, Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier (yes it sounds a little weird, but she was so unique). When it came to lines of clothes she was the first to give “themes” to the collections, when it came to perfume she was one of the first to make the bottle and advertising a unique marketing tool, provoking the public through sexy shapes and provocative illustrations. It was not normal to see half naked girls in posters in the 1930’s. Today some very famous people designers have taken the idea (I let you check the photos to guess who). Really a woman I would have loved to meet and pick on her brain!
Going back to the apartment, the decoration is a mix of some of Elsa’s possessions revisited, like the Esfinge that was in the window of the boutique or the statue of the eyes (that was actually brought from a optician school!) the living room and many others. But most of the other items where chosen carefully and in along period of time, Mr. Della Valle gave personal ok to many things (You don’t always see a busy CEO so mixed in a project so personally). In the apartment you can see also all the original perfume bottles (Zut!, Shocking, Sleeping ) of the perfumes and their advertising illustrations, that are simply breathtaking. My favorite her special Valentine’s Edition with the couple on the top of the statue of Place Vendome (check pictures) . The drawings Dali made specially for Elsa to give her ideas for her collections (How cool can that be?) and many unique furniture’s bought specially. You can see also Farida Khelfa’s desk with the chair of Dart Vader from Star Wars (true story, I sat on it!) and many, many more details make this visit extraordinary. As step two on the awakening of Schiaparelli we be the election of the new artistic director to be announced this January, little birds are talking about Viktor and Rolf, Olivier Thyeskens and Gaimbattista Vali, no news for the moment… we will se, but for sure the ‘chosen’ one has very big shoes to fill.
I want thank the press department of the House, especially to Pauline who is a book of knowledge and made this visit so enriching!.