If you want reality go to Zara. This is haute couture – a world where pink flamingo feathered masks and floor length matching capes are served up with your morning coffee. From the very first look, Schiaparelli creative director Betrand Guyon played to couture’s greatest strength: fantasy. The house is steeped in surrealism and he used the craft of couture to turn his models into mythical creatures complete with vivid head pieces or masks. A leopard lady slunk through the salons of the Opera Garnier wearing an elaborate winged cat mask complete with whiskers. Another model wore sleek shocking pink satin cocktail trousers and a perky pair of matching bunny ears. Elsewhere the decoration was stunning. Three dimensional tropical flowers blossomed atop a rainbow chiffon gown, glittering butterflies settled on a blue velvet jacket and embroidered eyes blinked from the front of a floor length dress. Erin O’Connor walked in a grand floor length satin cape with Elsa Schiaparelli’s face painted on the front (the couture equivalent of branding). “For me the fantasy is fundamental for the couture,” said Guyin of his flights of fancy. Couture he added was the last bastion of escapism. “This may be the only moment where we can really communicate with the fantasy and with the creation the colour,” he said. “Everything contrasts with the life we live in this strange epoch.” It is strange indeed and wonderfully weird but at Schiaparelli it is also beautifully rendered.
by Claudia Croft
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans