Schiaparelli to relaunch... who will design?

Timing is everything. Just as a new exhibition looks poised to introduce a new generation to Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs, investor Diego Della Valle has announced that he plans to revive the fashion house.

Tod’s boss Della Valle acquired Schiaparelli’s archives and trademarks in 2006, well before any whiff of a Costume Institute exhibition reached the public. He told WWD that the relaunched label will extend to accessories, fragrances and cosmetics, with some clothes too.

‘The idea with Schiaparelli is to propose the brand with all its modernity, and represent dreams, art and all the most sophisticated things we can do,’ Della Valle told the paper. ‘This brand doesn’t have to get involved in the frenetic world of numbers, accounts and dimensions, but it just has to express itself at its best.’

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WWII-era designer Schiaparelli (it’s ‘Skap’, not ‘Shap’), a rival of Coco Chanel, was venerated for her modern outlook and wry way with decoration. Though the brand has been dormant since 1954, Schiaparelli’s Shoe hat, Tear dress and other Surrealism-influenced creations have ensured that the designer's legacy enjoys a devoted following among cerebral fashion fans including Miuccia Prada.

Della Valle has yet to announce a designer for the soon-to-be resurrected brand, but he has secured model and muse Farida Khelfa as spokesperson (much in the way that Roger Vivier tapped Ines de la Fressange as its ambassador).

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Who might be a good fit as the new Schiap designer? When rumours of the relaunch first circulated in March, one of the names mooted was John Galliano. The designer's representatives denied any connection, but we have to wonder: would a genius designer with a flair for spectacle be such a shocking (as in hot pink, Schiap's favourite colour) choice?

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