By and  on September 30, 2015

SCHIAPARELLIDormant for almost 60 years, Schiaparelli is suddenly a beehive of activity, with new creative director Bertrand Guyon set to unveil his first “prêt-à-couture” collection only three months after his high-fashion debut.Expect something “completely different,” he said, describing a markedly younger and more playful collection ranging from embroidered jeans and suits to evening gowns.“Of course we use the codes of the house, but in a happy, playful way — not so first-degree,” said Guyon, seated in Schiaparelli’s lavish salons at 21 Place Vendôme.The house, relaunched by Italian entrepreneur Diego Della Valle in 2013, acquired additional real estate next door at No. 23 to establish a new salon for the luxury ready-to-wear, which is to be unveiled Sept. 30.Guyon said the collection, available only at the Schiaparelli house, leans more for day than his brocade and fur-heavy couture, calling the range as “very fresh, very colorful.”He referenced the early Seventies in the lean, vertical silhouettes, citing a fondness for French movies from the era and such actresses as Stéphane Audran, Jacqueline Bisset and Marisa Berenson.Guyon said the customer for prêt-à-couture could be the same woman who buys Schiaparelli couture, “but the wardrobe is more prêt-à-porter. It’s easier, and you can live in it from morning to evening.”While “not overly complicated,” looks in prêt-à-couture are embellished with couture embroideries and finishings, Guyon said. The range also includes bags, shoes and jewelry.Camilla Schiavone, managing director of Schiaparelli, said the prêt-à-couture would be produced in limited quantities and sold by appointment with an emphasis on personal service.“Prêt-à-couture has always been part of Elsa’s business model,” she said, referring to the founder, a Roman who moved to Paris. “She started with a [group] of emblematic trompe l’oeil sweaters. Elsa Schiaparelli wanted to dress active women, giving them elegant but comfortable outfits with a creative twist.”She said prices would be “linked to the complexity of each garment, the quality of materials and specific finishing. However, it is different from haute couture as it is not made-to-measure, but fitted on the customer, so prices are significantly lower.”Schiavone hinted that Schiaparelli could extend distribution of prêt-à-couture beyond Place Vendôme. “However, we are attached to the customer experience, the exclusivity of the product and the level of services. For this reason, we will make sure to keep a close control on the distribution…” she said.Trumpeting an enthusiastic reception to Guyon’s first couture collection, Schiavone said she also spies “strong potential” with bags and jewelry. Among items unveiled at couture were clutch bags in the shape of hands and rotary telephone dials. — Miles Socha MarimekkoMARIMEKKOGlobe-trotting Finnish label Marimekko is set to make its Paris debut this season.After presenting collections in Tokyo, New York, Stockholm and Copenhagen, the maker of clothing, textiles and home furnishings in distinctive colored prints will show its first collection designed completely under the creative direction of Anna Teurnell at the Palais de Tokyo on Oct. 4.The spring collection pays homage to the “strong, visionary” women in Marimekko’s history, like founder Armi Ratia and print designer Annika Rimala.“From a theme point of view, it kind of captures the essence of our brand,” said Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko, president of Marimekko. “We felt that also gives us the opportunity to create a strong reintroduction of our brand in the European market.”Since joining the company in July 2014, Teurnell — who previously helped Hennes & Mauritz AB launch its brand & Other Stories — has focused on expanding the ready-to-wear line by reducing its reliance on A-line dresses and rounding off the collection with solid-colored garments.“I’m proud to show the result of that work: practical yet flattering, inspiring and beautiful garments,” the designer said. “Clothes that make you feel strong.” — Joelle DiderichMolli and Le KashaSweaters never go out of style, even in Paris.To wit: Two young French women entrepreneurs are reviving venerable knitwear brands, Molli and Le Kasha.The Molli knitwear range already has a retail showcase: A first freestanding store opened mid-September at 252 Boulevard Saint Germain and a second one is planned for the Avenue Paul Doumer for mid-October, along with an online store.Entrepreneur Charlotte de Fayet bought the brand, known in the past for children’s wear, about a year ago, seduced by some of its signature details like point mousse and point oxford in a wool and cotton blend.De Fayet decided to build on these, only tweaking slightly the logo from 1925. She proposes a wardrobe of knit pieces with a soft yet structured texture, perfectly suited to the capes, coats, blouses, sweaters and pants for the winter collection. With delicate collar details all finished by hand and mother-of-pearl buttons, this feminine, clean and minimal range is to be sold exclusively at the new stores. About one-third of the 30-unit range is permanent items: jogging pants, hooded sweaters and a sweatshirt in classic and solid shades of navy, cream, gray, pale pink and curry yellow.De Fayet is next plotting pop-ups and corners at department stores, with a plan to open up to broader wholesale for the fall 2016 season, when knitwear is really in demand.For spring, De Fayet used a cotton yarn for a take on the Breton sweater with delicate hand-crocheted trim at the collar. She also developed a special stitch to evoke basket weaving used for capelets, T-shirts and a kimono jacket in shades of powder pink, cognac and aqua as a foil to classic shades of white and navy.All produced in small ateliers in France and Italy, Molli knitwear retails from 150 to 250 euros (about $165 to $279) for big scarves, hats and bonnets from 350 to 450 euros ($390 to $500) for tops and pants; and 650 euros ($725) for bigger pieces like coats and voluminous sweaters.With a wink to the past, De Fayet offers a selection of Molli knits for newborns and plans to add some pieces for men.Globetrotter Mali Marciano revived Le Kasha, founded in 1918 and owned by her family for generations. It was a supplier to big designers in the 20th century, including Lanvin and Chanel, known then for a jersey fabric in a blend of cashmere and synthetics. Gabrielle Chanel designed her first suit collection made with Le Kasha jersey while Jeanne Lanvin used it for swimwear and dresses.Building on this authenticity, Marciano updated the historic logo featuring a goat on a peak mountain. The brand now exclusively uses the highest quality of cashmere fiber from inner Mongolia known for its specific long hair, which makes the yarn long-lasting and resistant to pilling.Marciano conceived the collection as a lifestyle brand of classics for people like her, who have an intense travel schedule. She started shooting her look books while traveling to source material or inspirations.All the pieces are knitted except for slip-on sneakers made of a thick cashmere cloth.“The brand is not about creative, but timeless design,” said the designer, stressing the travel-friendly nature of her cashmere knots. She plans to animate the line with two or three capsules each year, influenced by her travel destinations and offering limited editions of some solid and vibrant colors to complete her classic palette of heathery cream, grays, oatmeal and light blue.Prices range from 350 euros ($390) for a thin-gauge T-shirt to 490 euros ($548) for a pullover, 50 euros ($56) for a travel set containing a plaid eye mask and big socks in a matching clutch, and 390 euros ($435) for sneakers.Interior designer Ramy Fischler created a trunk to present the collection, which will travel to different retail destinations, and Marciano is also targeting boutique hotels and airport locations. At present, her line is sold at stores including Kirna Zabete in New York, L’Eclaireur in Paris and Graanmarkt in Antwerp. A Web site is set to launch in mid-October, with e-commerce to be added a month later.— Laurent Folcher

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