Gucci wasn't the only fashion house with a collection to produce and no creative director to lead it this January. Over in Paris, Schiaparelli's spring/summer 2015 couture show was pulled together by its in-house team, following the departure of Creative Director Marco Zanini in November after just one year. The result, while perhaps less creative and ambitious than what Zanini showed previously, was more attractive, contemporary and better embodied the spirit of Schiaparelli. It wasn't a knockout collection, but you could imagine women wanting to buy the clothes.
The show, described by the designers as "an ode to self-confidence," opened with two looks that gave a playful nod to Eastern stereotypes — a softly tailored white suit paired with a royal blue fez, and a red silk blouse printed with needles that wrapped into a headscarf, paired with black trousers. Slim midi dresses —decorated with gold braid or stars, or printed with needles and paper hearts — looked both modern and still evoked Schiaparelli; the team made a further push into contemporary trends with cropped tops and matching trousers and skirts. A brown jacket and fringed green and blue skirt looked more Prada than Schiaparelli — but given how much influence Schiaparelli had on the former, it's hard to say who owns what. Hats accompanied many of the looks, but sagely, the shoulder pads favored by the original Schiaparelli, and later Zanini, were gone.
In contrast to the soft, lovely clothes he produced during his tenure at Rochas, the clothes that Zanini showed at Schiaparelli tended to be weird and unattractive, usually because they borrowed too much from outdated silhouettes or because they exaggerated proportions in unflattering ways. Particularly in his second (and last) collection, he enlarged the shoulders and arms, as seen in a leopard-print coat with gorilla sleeves and this broad-shouldered pink coat. Elsa Schiaparelli's genius lied in being able to put a lobster or human vertebrae on a dress and still make it look beautiful — or something that at least gave a first impression of beauty, then made you pause once you recognized what you were looking at. Her clothes (and especially her hats) were witty, too, in a way that Zanini's weren't.
Unlike Gucci parent Kering, Schiaparelli owner Diego Della Valle has given no suggestion that the house's next creative director will be plucked from the in-house team. We'll just have to stay tuned for that announcement a little while longer. In the meantime, browse all the looks in the gallery below.