Established in 1927, Maison Schiaparelli was led by the synonymous Elsa Schiaparelli, one of Coco Chanel’s most famous “fashion enemies”. It was on the address 4 Rue de la Paix, the street which still today carries famous names of Breguet, Buccellati, Mouboussin and many more. The company was founded under the name “Schiaparelli— Pour le sport ”.
The original product which kicked of the fame of Elsa Schiaparelli, was her hand knitted pullover with a geometric white bow around the neck, contrasting with black wool. It became an instant best-seller in the United States.
The Couture house of Schiaparelli has closed down in 1954 when it’s founder decided to devote entirely to her autobiography Shocking life, symbolic of the famous color she invented, the “Shocking Pink”. In 2012, the house re-opened at the address Hôtel de Fontpertuis, 21 place Vendôme, in the very place where the designer originally left it. The ambassador of the house, Farida Khelfa, is former supermodel, actress and movie director. Her Instagram is the perfect place to understand what Schiaparelli stands for today: https://www.instagram.com/faridakhelfa/?hl=en .
Elsa Schiaparelli is famous for many iconic fashion innovations of 1930s, 40s and beginning of 50s. She made bright pink shade the “it” thing, and named it shocking pink. Everybody went crazy for it! Her 1936 perfume was called symbolically “Shocking”, and her 1946 lipstick had the scent of the perfume. The woman really knew how to make a coherent storytelling! All Elsa’s designs were very clever and surreal, just like her friend Salvador Dali’s paintings. Her lobster dress was inspired by his work. There was always something about her fashion that made it unwearable, yet too interesting to be disregarded.
The Lone Wolf magazine best described her work in these words: “While the world may not remember her, evidence of Elsa Schiaparelli’s influence abounds in the very foundation of fashion. A rival of Coco Chanel, she set herself apart from the pack by collaborating with avant-garde artists such as Surrealist Salvador Dalí and poet Jean Cocteau. Although Chanel may have won the prize for fashion notoriety we think Elsa Schiaparelli takes the cake for daring innovation.” (https://lonewolfmag.com/elsa-schiaparelli-surrealist-fashion-designer/)
These are some of her designs from the original Elsa Schiaparelli collections:
In 2015 when Bertrand Guyon was appointed the new head designer of recently re-opened Maison Schiaparelli, very cleverly, he decided to use the iconic things that the brand was originally made around, and twist them to a modern perspective.