Diego Della Valle's revival of iconic French fashion house Schiaparelli has not had an easy start. After a lengthy search for a creative director, Marco Zanini was hired away from Rochas in September 2013, but departed after just two couture collections, leaving the spring/summer 2015 couture collection in the hands of the house's existing design team. In April, Bertrand Guyon, a relative unknown from Valentino (and Christian Lacroix before that), was named creative director of Schiaparelli. He presented his first couture collection for the label in Paris on Monday.
A graduate of the prestigious École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, and coming from two brands with plenty of prowess in the couture world, Guyon is well trained for his new role, and the fall 2015 couture collection married that training with a clear respect for Schiaparelli's signatures.
He kept silhouettes relatively simple and classic, from the tailored suiting to the flowing chiffon gowns, occasionally incorporating sculptural elements like sharp, exaggerated shoulders while maintaining an air of glamour. He got a little wilder with color, print and texture — a patchwork pink and blue fur coat here, a hand-sketched motif on a silk gown there. Cheeky appliqués and embroideries may have employed skills learned at Valentino, but were done in a way that felt very Schiaparelli. Similarly, a selection of rich brocades was bold without being too zany.
While the collection succeeds in being both beautiful and not too literal in its references to the founding designer, it was, understandably, a bit safe at times (see: the "shocking pink" gown above). As is often the case when a new designer takes over a fashion house, we think Guyon's second season will be more indicative of his true vision for the brand and his ability to make Schiaparelli as special as it was in its heyday.