Being Schiaparelli’s newly appointed creative director and having to create the fashion house’s couture collections doesn’t seem like an easy task at all. For the Schiaparelli Couture fall/winter 2016-17 collection, which is Bertrand Guyon’s third take on couture fashion since arriving at Schiaparelli in April last year, the designer tried something new, with both Elsa Schiaparelli’s and his own takes on fashion being at the core of the entire line-up.
To make things ‘easier’, he chose a motif that is a hard one to explore for sure, but would allow anyone’s creative stream of consciousness to run wild in the world of fashion: Elsa Schiaparelli’s Circus collection.
Born at the end of the Nineteenth century, Elsa Schiaparelli could be regarded as one of the most eclectic and whimsical minds of the fashion industry, with her signature surrealistic and outrageous take on fashion that is yet to be righteously outdone. Showcased in 1939, Elsa’s Circus collection is still remembered as one of the darkest and most evoking line-ups the designer has ever created, with trompe l’oeil sweaters and sinister patterns dominating the scene.
The collection surely had a strong impact on both fashion and society, and has it sort of responded to the unavoidable threats Europe (and the entire world) was about to experience.
In the same way, we could righteously assume Guyon is also trying to reveal something about his perception of a society that has never stopped being at war since the very beginning of the XXI century. He seems, however, also to be celebrating the same society, reminding us that there is always something good to be glad about in this world.
Although predominantly dark-toned, the collection alternates rich blacks with Schiaparelli vibrant pinks and golden cascades of fabrics, interrupting thus the Circus collection’s darker undertones with something more cheerful.
The cuts and lines intertwine similar motifs, at times bringing in opulent, exaggerated structured lines, and at times wrapping the bodies with modern goddess-like pieces that infuse the entire line-up with moments of pure femininity.
As the collection draws to a close, we see Guyon play more and more with pastel colors and even playful refinements, as if leaving a positive and encouraging message was all he wanted to do.
The Schiaparelli Couture fall 2016 line-up could, in fact, be divided into three main sections, with the first darker part and the last more delicate one undeniably being the ones where he dared the most. In the middle, between the most Schiaparelli-inspired section and the most Guyon-approved one, there’s an appealing array of pieces that combine both the designers’ signature motifs, with retro patterns coming paired with more modern cuts and youthful lines.
Whether Guyon will keep on drawing inspiration from Schiaparelli’s unique designs is unknown. What we do know for sure, however, is that as long as he keeps on infusing his collections with poetic and metaphorically surrealistic patterns, Elsa’s legacy is preserved for sure.
Photos courtesy of Vogue