On December 16, 2016 the long-standing fashion house Schiaparelli – founded in 1927, closed in 1954, then relaunched in 2013 – joined the couture club. “Today, Schiaparelli’s unique spirit of haute couture merging art, innovation, craftsmanship, quality, and audacity enters a new chapter of its story,” the brand shared in a statement. Fast-forward to today’s show and the front row can testify that the maison overfloweth with sartorial statements to make. Much like the house of Christian Dior, Schiaparelli has used the medium of couture to explore the modern discourse of feminism. The show notes set the empowerment conversation in motion: “Elsa Schiaparelli had a circle of women revolving around her. Inspiring and inspired, they were muses…” And so the voluminous dresses that wafted past on the runway paid homage to great women past and present.
Fall 2017‘s Schiaparelli woman has a wardrobe of hemlines that dart from extreme micro minis to floor-sweeping gowns, but the thread that tied the collection together was notably the fabrics. Velvet for outerwear, organza and tulle ruche for after-hours, and vinyl jackets that give it the futureproof feel. Sheer silk gloves add unexpected punches of color to the palette of paper white and classic beige, only to be interrupted by a shocking pink gown (loose-fit and easy to wear). The heart motif dress added a touch of whimsy to the runway and jewel-toned dresses tapped into winter’s favorite rainbow. The influence of great artists was, of course, ever present: tailored jackets nodded to Picasso and Rothko proved to be inspiration for color-blocking contrasts.
The provocation at the top of the runway notes set out a stall: “Shocking society.” While the transparent layering of silks, glass tubing, and plastic accents served as a modern twist, the fashion desk was more enamored than startled.