Luxury king reawakens sleeping beauty Schiaparelli

Mon Oct 1, 2012 1:08pm EDT
 
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Fresh from the successful re-launch of sleepy French shoemaker Roger Vivier, Italy's king of luxury Tod's Chairman Diego Della Valle is resuscitating Schiaparelli, a fashion brand inspired by Surrealists that has lain dormant since 1954.

Della Valle aims to bring back the name to its haute couture past and kick-start the business with custom-made suits and dresses, its ambassador, actress and model Farida Khelfa, told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Once the label gains sufficient traction in terms of sales and credibility among fashion critics, it will branch out into accessories, perfume and jewellery, Khelfa said.

Khelfa, whose wedding to French businessman Henri Seydoux last month was attended by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni, said Schiaparelli's relaunch could be ready in time for the couture shows in Paris either in January or July.

"Della Valle is not in a hurry," Khelfa said. "He is taking his time."

The brand said in the spring it planned to announce its new designer in September. Now, it hopes to do so "in the next few weeks," Khelfa said, dismissing rumors that disgraced ex-Dior designer John Galliano was a front-runner.

"We will make the name public when we are ready," she said.

Choosing the right designer is key to the success of Schiaparelli's revival, critics say. Examples of successful fashion re-launches include Lanvin under designer Alber Elbaz and Balenciaga, part of PPR under Nicolas Ghesquiere.   Continued...

 
Actress and model Farida Khelfa, named ambassador of fashion house Schiaparelli, speaks during an interview with Reuters in her office Place Vendome once occupied by Elsa Schiaparelli, in central Paris October 1, 2012. Having successfully re-launched sleepy French shoemaker Roger Vivier, Italy's king of luxury Tod's Chairman Diego Della Valle is resuscitating Schiaparelli, a fashion brand inspired by Surrealists and lying dormant since 1954. Della Valle aims to bring back the name to its haute couture past and kick-start the business with custom-made suits and dresses, Khelfa, told Reuters on Monday. Wojazer