Schiaparelli brand back in Paris fashion after 60-year silence

Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:25pm EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Schiaparelli sprang back to life as a shrewdly eccentric fashion brand on Monday, honoring its founder Elsa by using its first collection since 1954 to mock convention in the tradition of her lobster dress.

The fashion brand, owned by Italian luxury king Diego Della Valle, is applying a tried-and-tested recipe in the fashion world of resuscitating dormant labels with a new designer, drawing on its history and heritage as a marketing tool.

With a provocative sense of humor to outdo today's Lady Gaga, Elsa Schiaparelli dared women to be bold in the pre-war Paris of the 1930s, collaborating with artists such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.

She was the first to fuse fine art with fashion, attracting a clientele including the Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford.

Now Della Valle, whose Tod's brand is suffering from logo fatigue like rivals Gucci and Louis Vuitton, wants to replicate the success of Roger Vivier, a once-sleepy shoe brand which has become Tod's group's fastest growing label.

Schiaparelli's memorable works included knitted sweaters with trompe-l'oeil bows and neckties, as well as suits with embroidered lip-shaped pockets.

Della Valle acquired Schiaparelli in 2006 and had to wait for six years for the lease at the designer's original atelier on Place Vendome in central Paris to be free again. Last year, he appointed as its creative director Marco Zanini, who was at Rochas and previously worked with Versace and Dolce & Gabbana.

To lead the brand on the business side, Della Valle hired Camilla Schiavone, who used to head L'Oreal's luxury perfume division in Italy.   Continued...

Models present creations by designer Marco Zanini as part of the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 fashion show in Paris, January 20, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau