Bertrand Guyon, presenting his Schiaparelli couture at its Place Vendôme salons, explored founder Elsa Schiaparelli’s tendencies for both opulence and simplicity — and folded in some Surrealist touches.
The founder’s furnishings from her house on Rue de Berri were the starting point — in particular antique Chinese carpets by the Manufactures des Gobelins.
A keen globetrotter, Schiaparelli also liked to don Japanese kimonos and Chinese hanfus as loungewear, while her Shocking Pink shade was triggered by Asian influences, Guyon said, noting he sought to spin a more graphic, contemporary take on the theme.
Guyon used silk-embroidered flowers and leaves as placement motifs on silk crepe gowns. Looks treading a more Chinoiserie-chic route included a shorts suit in tapestry florals on a vivid lapis lazuli ground, or a flamboyant silk chiffon gown hand-painted with stylized carp, with fluttering scales embroidered at the shoulder. A gleaming silk jacket with a dragon and Tibetan tiger motif on the back was exquisite.
The purist silhouettes won out, though, including a long fluid dress with a Seventies feel but in strong, graphic colorblocking — some edged with Jour de Venise ladder embroideries typically used on antique bed linens.
Cream capes in double-faced cashmere sported bold intarsia motifs of house symbols like suns and padlocks, and nods to Jean Cocteau. Witty and humorous motifs included kissing face-to-face motifs with glistening 3-D eyelashes and embroidered hands holding a heart just over the area where the vital organ actually sits.
But it was only in the last two exits that the couture feel really kicked in. A flowing black halter look in layers of chiffon stood out for its keyhole-shaped décolleté. The closing gown in delicate black lace with car wash pleats was also lovely, with a subtle lobster crest embroidered at the bib and a beaded chain slung across the body dangling a mini golden birdcage.