The revival of the house of Elsa Schiaparelli is now underway. It was announced Wednesday that Christian Lacroix will design a special 15-piece collection for Schiaparelli, which will be unveiled during the Paris haute couture shows in July. The collection will be a one-off, and represents the first step of the return of the brand, according to media materials.
Italian luxury tycoon and Tods Chief Executive Diego Della Valle bought the Schiaparelli name and archives in 2006, and hosted a lavish media event at the incredible Schiaparelli maison in Place Vendome last year. Even as buzz about the brand grew -- thanks to last year’s “Impossible Conversations” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which examined the relationship between Schiaparelli and Surrealism, and her influence on designer Miuccia Prada’s work -- Della Valle had not settled on a designer.
Lacroix was a fixture in the Paris runway show fashion scene for years, rising to the height of his powers during the exuberant '80s. He has an unabashed love of color just as Schiaparelli did with her shocking pink, and got to put his color sense to use during a stint designing for Emilio Pucci in Milan from 2002 to 2005. But, plagued by financial difficulties, he was forced to close the Lacroix couture house and ready-to-wear business in Paris in 2009.
It will be nice to see him back on the scene. His sense of playfulness and flamboyant fun, combined with his reverence for the past, makes him a good choice to revive Schiaparelli’s couture tradition, at least for the first time out of the gate.
As to who will take over for Lacroix, or if he will continue with a ready-to-wear collection if this first couture collection is well-received ... that remains to be seen.