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Schiaparelli to Sell by Appointment Only

Dubbed “prêt-à-couture,” the label's first collection of high-end ready-to-wear and a few accessories is to be unveiled in June for the fall 2014 season.

PARIS — Signaling a hyper-exclusive business strategy, Schiaparelli is to sell its first collection of high-end ready-to-wear exclusively at a by-appointment boutique in Paris — and editors will discover it at the same time as customers.

This story first appeared in the February 19, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Dubbed “prêt-à-couture,” the range of clothes and a few accessories is to be unveiled in June for the fall 2014 season at a 2,500-square-foot space within Schiaparelli’s headquarters at 21 Place Vendôme here.

“It is in our own luxury. When clients will come here, they will feel it is a truly special moment in a couture house, something intimate, exclusive and precious,” said Camilla Schiavone, general manager of Schiaparelli, which presented a couture collection in January, the latest step in reviving a storied brand that had been dormant for decades.

Italian designer Marco Zanini is creative director of Schiaparelli, which is owned by Diego Della Valle, head of Tod’s Group.

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Schiavone noted the debut rtw, tentatively scheduled for a presentation during Paris Fashion Week later this month, would only be shown to the press when the merchandise reaches the store.

“The idea is to be in line with the real season,” Schiavone explained. “It is our way to define the pace of a couture house today. We started with haute couture in January with the spring-summer season that was available to order immediately. Now we will start with prêt-à-couture — again available immediately.”

The private boutique will be in the historic home of Schiaparelli, a building that also houses its couture salons, studio, atelier and offices.

Prices of the rtw and accessories have yet to be finalized, with Schiavone suggesting Schiaparelli would pursue an at-its-own-pace development, dovetailing with the founder’s provocative ethos.

“Our independence and irreverence make us willing to follow a schedule that makes sense, not rushing anything, following and respecting seasons and clients, presenting projects when they are ready, taking the necessary time to develop collections, etc.,” she said.

Born in Rome in 1890, Elsa Schiaparelli was seen as a key rival of Gabrielle Chanel, known for designs heavily influenced by surrealist art, such as her Shoe hat and Lobster dress. She closed her Paris house in 1954 and died in 1973.

Della Valle bought the trademarks and archives of the late couturier in May 2006 via a personal holding and has been reviving it slowly, last year tapping couturier Christian Lacroix to do a one-off tribute range for exhibition only.