Блок про Эльзу Скиапарелли хотелось бы завершить отзывами двух авторитетных экспертов мира моды относительно коллекции Schiaparelli Fall 2013 Couture by Christian Lacroix и, конечно же, это Сьюзи Менкес и Тим Бланкс. Но начнём с интервью Кристиана Лакруа для STYLE.COM
Finally, something’s happening at Schiaparelli. After the house’s current owner, Diego Della Valle, announced his plans to reopen the storied maison last year, there had been no news about a creative director, or even a launch date. Until yesterday, when it was revealed that the Schiap revival is set for July, with a fifteen-piece capsule collection of Couture by Christian Lacroix. The 61-year-old, Paris-based couturier’s homage to Schiaparelli—which will go on display in her original salon at 21 Place Vendôme—will be the first in an annual series of collaborations in which artists will interpret the iconic designer’s wares. The house’s permanent creative director, however, has yet to be named. Here, Lacroix, who has largely been working on costume projects for operas and ballets around the globe since his departure from the couture catwalk in 2009, discusses the Schiaparelli revival and his forthcoming collection.
Schiaparelli is a legend, yet also mysterious; you referred to her as a sphinx. Are you at all intimidated by the undertaking?
This will perhaps sound pretentious, but this seems natural to me, almost obvious—let’s say logical. I do feel a link with her through many signs since I was a child. I’ll face her glance on a portrait and try to guess what she thinks…and I’ll tell you yes, she’s goddamned intimidating!
How did Mr. Della Valle approach you for this project?
We have known each other for more than thirty years. [We met] when I was working for Guy Paulin and Byblos in Italy. Later, he made my first shoes for the first Lacroix ready-to-wear show. And we have friends and collaborators in common.
Why were you drawn to this collaboration?
I’ve adored Schiap since my childhood. This kind of project that falls in between the history of costume and fashion was impossible for me to refuse [particularly because] I planned to be a fashion museum curator and became a stage designer after twenty-five years of couture.
Do you see any similarities between your and Schiaparelli’s aesthetics?
Of course I was very inspired by her work, mixing past and modernity, high and low, elegance and eccentricity. We are both Mediterranean characters inspired by Paris’ special flavor and style.
While many are excited to see new life breathed into Elsa Schiaparelli’s house, some are wary of the revival and feel her legacy should be left untouched. What is your response to this and what are your feelings on the revival?
When you enter 21 Place Vendôme, the place which never stopped being “her” home since the thirties, you feel something alive, far from nostalgia. Everything screams, “I’m still here, alive.” I think this is good timing and momentum [as long as] we don’t copy her but try to extract the quintessence of her style. Her heritage is too often reduced and simplified to only the crazy, surrealistic, and caricatural side of her clothes. [People] ignore how close to the practical, modern, pure aspect of a wardrobe she was, especially during the war. We have to epitomize this image of her.
How do you plan to embrace the Schiaparelli spirit without making the designs look costumey? How will you modernize Schiaparelli’s vision?
By listening to her own voice. This is not a musical about her life, with Beaton-esque costumes, but an exercise of how her French-American (much more than Italian) style—clever clothes with a twist of spirit—is close to nowadays’ needs and approach.
What about this project most excites you?
I just signed and have not begun designing, but let’s say that I’m excited to not provide what everybody is waiting for—a caricature—but a reflection about past and future connected in the present.
What is your favorite Schiaparelli design?
Probably something plain and black with a precious detail.
How does it feel to return to designing couture?
Do you have any plans to continue this partnership in the future?
No, that’s clear. Next year’s homage might be a ballet, a novel, or a movie, and the house is about to name a creative director. I’d have too many stage, design, or curating projects to be free for this. At the moment, I’m still working on many curating and scenography projects, three operas, and three hotels. I’m in fittings for Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, and sketching for Wagner’s Lohengrin in Austria. Right now, I’m in Arles for a wide scenography in Montmajour Abbey, with pieces of glass from Bob Wilson, Ettore Sottsass, Jana Sterbak, et cetera, along with contemporary installations, paintings, and photos. Then I’m doing a Balanchine ballet revival at Paris Garnier Opera, and projects for Comédie Française and Opera Comique, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s [opera] Ezio in Francfort, Traviata in Tokyo, Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny in Berlin, and so on.
«It was a dream, really,» said Christian Lacroix of his invitation to honor Elsa Schiaparelli. «Tomorrow it’s over.» But today was the opportunity to celebrate Lacroix’s eighteen-outfit tribute to the woman who helped shape his fashion sensibility. And, for some of us, it was a fleeting moment to impress on the designer how much he is missed. This being a one-off, he will return to his work in the theater.
Still, the setup in the Pavillon de Flore of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs was satisfyingly elaborate, a mark of respect not just to Schiap but to the man who helped sustain her legacy decades later. Visitors entered through a re-creation of the bamboo cage that Jean-Michel Frank designed for the entrance of Elsa’s atelier. A tree laden with cherry blossoms added a fragile beauty. In its branches were small monitors, each featuring a songbird. The combination of nature and technology felt infinitely sympathetic to Schiap’s relationship to the modernist worlds in which she moved. There was also something droll enough to suggest Lacroix’s own wit.
Schiap’s signatures veered from the surreal (the Dali lobster) to the barbaric (she loved a monkey fur) to the relatively straightforward (here, a coatdress in navy wool crepe with big, pannierlike pockets in faille). That range was one reason Lacroix always loved her. He can date his fascination back to his discovery of a trove of wartime Vogues in his great aunt’s attic. «I was fascinated by a time of terror and violence where Paris could still be elegant,» he said. The Schiap jumpsuit, for instance, a functional piece intended for extreme situations like bomb shelters. True, there was something obviously functional in the huge pockets attached peplumlike to the wool crepe jumpsuit here (wartime women needed big pockets), but bomb shelters weren’t the first context that sprang to mind. It was more the comingling of fashion-not-function design sensibilities that sparked the exhibition: Schiap’s sari dress in acid-green chiffon; a huge skirt in charcoal faille zapped with a bright green bow; a braided cape in midnight satin; or a coatdress in fuchsia cashmere caped and belted in black passementerie. Best in show was a pink-and-black striped dress in duchesse satin that bunched in back into a surreally enormous bow. Schiap’s love of art and circuses, the legendary Bébé Bérard’s sketches that illuminated her designs. Lacroix’s worship of them both: That single outfit contained their whole universe.
PARIS — “I was asked for my vision of Schiaparelli, and I feel so far from couture,” said Christian Lacroix, holding a “Schiap” lobster hat beside the first fashion creations he has done since his house was shuttered four years ago and he turned to stage costumes.
But in this current Paris autumn 2013 season, the one-time couturier has created a fusion of his own shapely silhouettes, joyful colors and intense embellishment with the ideas of Elsa Schiaparelli, the surrealist designer of the 1930s.
A carousel spun Monday to show the Lacroix interpretations — from a scarlet military jacket with jet embroidery; through a peach hip-line pouffe over a goat’s fur skirt; to a dress in shocking pink, the color that Schiap invented.
Since the house of Schiaparelli was bought in 2006 by the Italian luxury entrepreneur Diego Della Valle, it has been a sleeping beauty. Mr. Lacroix’s involvement, for just one season, is designed to buff up the brand, by showing an 18-piece collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The same opportunity will be offered annually to different artists, and a full-time designer will soon be appointed.
But nobody, not even Mr. Della Valle himself, questioned on Sunday, knows how the Schiap/Lacroix story will unfold, although a taut purple jacket with narrow blue pants could walk right out in the Paris streets, even with its grass-green taffeta neckpiece.
It was a joy to see again Mr. Lacroix’s intense, painterly shades and how he can turn black into a color with shards of decoration and nuances of light. Schiap embroideries from the Lesage archives were used deftly as embellishment.
Mr. Lacroix is adamant that fashion is behind him and that costumes are now his fashion. “But I swear that without Schiap I would never have done couture because everything in her work was inspirational for me: the colors, shapes and her way of using the past,” he said. ‘’This is my homage.”