Historic couture maison Schiaparelli launches unique ready-to-wear project
French haute couture label Schiaparelli has redefined the concept of ready-to-wear fashion, developing a new, highly manageable format. In the last two years, the Parisian label, owned by Italian luxury label Tod’s boss Diego Della Valle, has been asking itself many questions: how to approach ready-to-wear when you are a bijou couture label? How to transpose the essence of haute couture to a more accessible line? How to be different while continuing to be sought after? Schiaparelli’s own answers to these questions gave rise to a new project called ‘Story’, which the label will unveil at the forthcoming Paris Fashion Week.
Each ‘Story’ collection will consist of 20-30 luxury ready-to-wear items and about 15 accessories, inspired by a strong theme linked to the spirit and history of Schiaparelli. The collections will each be introduced independently of the traditional commercial seasons and of the fashion calendar.
“Rather than about a collection, we prefer to talk about a wardrobe. The idea is to tell many small stories, all of them interlinked and together making up a larger story, that of Schiaparelli, [a label] we want to make more accessible and whose eclecticism we are keen to revive,” a spokesperson for the label explained to FashionNetwork.com.
The collections will be available at the new lounge-boutique located at 23 Place Vendôme, Paris, adjoining the label’s headquarters at number 21, where Elsa Schiaparelli set up her first atelier in 1935. The new Schiaparelli lounge-boutique will be open from September 25. The third-floor, 400-square-metre premises will welcome customers from Monday to Saturday, with no appointment needed, the plush interiors featuring a bird's eye view of the Ritz Hotel and the famous Place Vendôme column, a worldwide luxury icon.
The opening of this lounge-boutique is the start of a new chapter in Schiaparelli’s history, and is designed to offer the label's ready-to-wear customers a unique experience. “Such a full immersion within the world of a genuine couture house is a special privilege, transforming the purchasing experience in something unique,” said the label, which also focused on making this a sustainable project, with “a carefully measured output” and no concession to the siren song of oversupply.
All the items are manufactured in Italy and France. To sustain the new ready-to-wear line, which was initially developed very discreetly in 2016 under a different format, Schiaparelli has had to rethink its organisation, doubling its staff, from 25 to 50 people, in the last two years.
The new approach will debut with Story #1, the theme being ‘Man Ray and the Schiaparelli icons’, paying tribute to the main works of the surrealist photographer and artist, a long-standing close friend of Elsa Schiaparelli. The collection will feature dresses, jackets, blouses, t-shirts and sweatshirts, as well as a first statement handbag called ‘Le Secret de Schiaparelli’, made in France following the dictates of traditional leather goods craftsmanship. Retail prices start at €300-€400, to reach well into the thousands for select special items.
The label is also open to collaborations. In a nod to gourmet food, talented confectioner Cédric Grolet has been asked to create a special cake, while Tokyo-based Danish floral artist Nicolai Bergman has devised a series of bouquet boxes with shocking pink flowers. The next collection, Story #2, will be launched at the end of the year.
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