Schiaparelli is Back – Without the Lobster

I’ll be reviewing the Schiaparelli Spring 2014 Couture Collection. I know, I know, I’m late, but it’s spring, and it’s Schiaparelli, and who can resist that combination? So here goes:

And… after a sixty year break since Schiaparelli unveiled her last collection, the brand – with Marco Zanini at the helm – has returned. Whenever I hear Schiaparelli mentioned, my mind immediately shifts to lobsters and inverted shoe hats. And who can blame me? These symbols have become the unofficial emblems of Schiaparelli and her creations. But of course, Schiaparelli is much more than that – she shocked the whole world with her designs! Her influence is still visible today, but as she lived at the same time as Chanel, she is mentioned much less frequently.

For those of you who are not Schiaparelli obsessed, I’ll give you a brief overview just to give you an idea of the amazing and influential woman she was. While her business never thrived, Time nevertheless placed Schiaparelli in the first division of fashion (over Chanel!!) in 1934, calling her an “arbiter of the ultra-modern haute couture… Madder and more original than most of her contemporaries, Mme Schiaparelli is the one to whom the word “genius” is applied most often”. And what a genius she was. Not only did she introduce a sense of playfulness and laissez-faire to fashion – foreshadowing Prada – she also bravely embraced the new technologies and materials of the time. She experimented with rayon jersey and acrylic, amongst others as well. This was the first time synthetic materials were used in couture! She also dreamt up the wraparound dress decades before DVF, created the first evening dress with a jacket, designed the first clothes with visible zippers, and crumpled up rayon half a century before Issey Miyake. Now that is a legacy to live up to.

Zanini, not altogether surprisingly, has still some catching up to do.

He captured Schiaparelli’s sense of humor, as seen here:

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Look at that print!

He paired a beautiful evening dress with loose menswear:

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Went crazy with the hair and materials:

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But all of that does not a Schiaparelli make. Zanini adhered too much to her legacy – when in fact her legacy is to stray from tradition, to be bold and go forth! And that is exactly what this collection lacked. This is couture as well, and the designs were simply not up to that standard. I always expect more from couture. Of course, they are beautifully crafted and of superb quality, but they seem more ready to wear. A certain je ne sais quoi is missing. Although I do not blame Zanini – he is an incredibly talented designer, and he has huge shoes to fill – an intimidating task for any man! 

This collection does possess a lot of potential though, so I am looking forward to what will come in the future.

xoxo,

Chiara

p.s. What do you think of Schiaparelli? And have you ever cooked a lobster? I haven’t… 🙂

 

Heads up! It’s the Spring 2014 Trend Report!

Spring has finally sprung… and with it, spring shopping!

So in this post I’m going to cover this year’s most important spring / summer trends with some examples from my favorite runway collections.

Globe trotters, unite!

Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan, Akris

Designers were definitely thinking globally this season. It’s easy to add tribal touches to any outfit by investing in a stand-out pair of shoes, a long swingy necklace or two, and a piece with a unique print!

Laid-Back Prep

Dior, Alexander Wang, Acne Studios
Dior, Alexander Wang, Acne Studios

Think prepster… at the beach. Unbutton those collars! Invest in some classic – but fun – blouses, shirts, and sandals. And the fugly shoe is back – though I am still conflicted about it. Celine and Acne have not convince me yet. What about you?

Let Life Mimic Art (or vice versa)

Chanel, Prada, Celine

Chanel was (once again) one of my favorite shows of the season. Fashion has often been regarded by critics as more of a business, and designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Prada have been criticizing this mindset lately. In their eyes, and any fashionista’s, fashion is a form of art – and rightly so. To tap into this trend, invest in a statement handbag (Prada!), some innovative prints, and some stark white shoes, shorts, or skirts to contrast your more daring pieces against.

Display your Worth

Lanvin, Proenza Schouler, Diane von Furstenberg
Lanvin, Proenza Schouler, Diane von Furstenberg

It’s time to shine! Literally. Don’t shy away from statement metallics, and if you hesitate going for the look in clothing, search for gold or silver heels and accessories. A pop of gold and silver glints nicely in the sun, and a full out look is downright daring!

Just Do It

Pucci, Tom Ford, Paco Rabbane
Pucci, Tom Ford, Paco Rabbane

Gone are the days where sportswear is considered to be a pair of dirty sweatpants and a worn out hoodie (thank god!). Sportswear has turned luxe – it is now an essential component of a well rounded wardrobe. Snatch up some mesh tees or tanks, some sporty shorts, or simply some fun wedge sneakers!

But the trendiest thing of all is to remain true to your own style! As YSL said – “fashions fade, but style remains eternal”.

xoxo,

Chiara

p.s. What are some of your favorite trends of this season? Are there any special ways you are planning on incorporating them into your wardrobe? Tell me, I’d love to know! ❤

Zadig & Voltaire – Too Cool to Care

I always had a love / hate relationship with Zadig & Voltaire.  The hate stems from my years at a French school, where some girls I really disliked always wore Zadig tees and sweaters. So it followed that I hated Zadig & Voltaire. Now that I type this it sounds so stupid, but oh well, I’m sure you understand. I used to snicker in the hallways with one of my best friends about how horrible the quality of the clothing was, how ugly, and whatever else we could think of. But I secretly envied the effortless style of these sweaters and shirts, and how they could be worn forever without ever appearing worn out (bad quality my eye).

And then one day, my friend appeared at school wearing a pale pink Zadig & Voltaire tee. Betrayal! She asked me what I thought, and I knew that she knew that I knew what she had just done. I answered that I liked it, thus granting it my approval. An invisible barrier had been broken among us. I was inwardly relieved, and I think my friend was as well! We knew that we could now finally shop at Zadig & Voltaire. 

So yes, ultimately Zadig & Voltaire has won me (and my friend) over. We are tough to crack so this is an impressive feat. 😉

I think the appeal of the brand lies in that it is beautiful, simple, and stylish yet appears effortlessly thrown together. Note appears because all of us fashionistas know that looking not put-together is the hardest thing of all!

For their Fall 2014 collection, Zadig & Voltaire followed their established brand aesthetic to the T.

The material was luxe, though understated. The palette was muted, almost military. In some looks, there was even an undercurrent of a very feminine and rebellious cowboy theme as seen here:

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This look reminds me a lot of Isabel Marant’s Fall 2012 collection. Coincidence? Or not? I wonder…

And here, the signature Zadig overalls, strewn with sparkles and glitter:

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Coupled with the combat boots, this look really works. It creates the perfect combination between feminine (the sparkles), masculine, and rebellious. Because the Zadig girl is anything but conventional.

I really loved the scarves at the end of the show. They were a bit extreme, granted, but looked exceedingly comfy. Coupled with a tailored top, the scarf would add swing to any outfit. Again, the fringe here is reminiscent of cowboys. 

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And for me, the piece de resistance of the show was these pair of pants:

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I need these in my closet ASAP.

Of course, Zadig & Voltaire is ultimately a retail brand. This means that it will never really create anything truly controversial or startlingly innovative, but it is fun too drool over their creations nevertheless. I predict that I will be shopping a lot at Zadig come fall. To be honest, I’m already looking forward to it.

Just to finish of with a little factoid, the brand is named after the French philosopher Voltaire’s book Zadig ou la Destinée, written in 1747. Zadig, the main character, is distinguished by his charisma, his modernity, and his courage.

Hmmm… do you see any similarities?

xoxo, 

Chiara

p.s. Are there any brands you have a love / hate relationship with as well?