The big­ger pic­ture Schi­a­par­elli’s de­lec­ta­ble cou­ture

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - NEWS - Bethan Holt

The haute-cou­ture shows are al­ways a wil­ful tum­ble down the rab­bit hole into a world of fan­tasy and ex­cess, and Schi­a­par­elli’s in Paris this week took us straight to a seat at the Mad Hat­ter’s Tea Party. But in­stead of watch­ing a dor­mouse be­ing forced into a teapot, here de­lec­ta­ble treats were served up in silk and gos­samer, as em­broi­dery and in wool. In­tri­cate cup­cake-shaped ap­pliqué and ink-il­lus­trated ar­ti­chokes and cour­gettes made a play­ful ap­pear­ance on grand gowns and neat suits des­tined for the wardrobes of cou­ture cus­tomers who like their fash­ion served up with a large help­ing of wit.

Cre­ative di­rec­tor Ber­trand Guyon has been at Schi­a­par­elli barely a year, but he’s al­ready play­ing glo­ri­ous games with the sur­re­al­ist her­itage of the house’s epony­mous founder. Elsa Schi­a­par­elli made her name in the 1930s with struc­tural, el­e­gant yet spir­ited de­signs: one of her most iconic cre­ations was a 1937 lob­ster gown in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Salvador Dalí. It was the sur­re­al­ist painter’s erotic and comic cook­book Les Dîn­ers de Gala, in­spired by his wife, that pro­vided Guyon with this sea­son’s culi­nary in­spi­ra­tion. As if the mac­aron pal­ette and del­i­cately whipped-up dresses shown here back­stage weren’t cheer­ing enough, then think of them be­ing worn to a feast hosted by Schi­a­par­elli her­self – some­one who en­joyed her food. In her 1954 mem­oir Shock­ing Life she wrote, ‘Eat­ing well gives a spec­tac­u­lar joy of life and con­trib­utes im­mensely to good­will and happy com­pan­ion­ship.’ Bon ap­pétit.

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