Runway Report: Schiaparelli F/W ’13 Haute Couture


A pioneer of couture and one of the most important fashion figures of the early to mid 20th century, Elsa Schiaparelli helped define the trends of the decades, designing from the heart.  Whimsy and imaginative, the Italian born non-conformist was heavily influenced by famed surrealist artists (like her personal friend, Salvador Dali), and after spending some time in New York with her husband and daughter, she moved back to Paris to launch her very own boutique.  After years of designing, it was her intricate knits that propelled her to fame with a feature in French Vogue and grabbing the attention of women like Daisy Flowers, Millicent Rogers and Mae West.   As she expanded her small boutique to the fashion house we know it to be, she entered different realms of design including outer-wear, sportswear and evening-wear, leading to increasing success every step of the way.  Even though Elsa shuttered the doors of her fashion house in 1951, it’s her innovative designs and eccentricity that continue to live on and inspire the artists of today.

Fast forward to present day, it’s “Schiap’s” legacy that has inclined so many to design as an homage to the fashion icon.  The most recent individual presented with this honor is none other than Cristian Lacroix for F/W 2013 Couture fashion week.  Together with Maison Schiaparelli, they’ve created an intimate collection that was presented yesterday at the Pavillon de Flore of the Arts Décoratifs museum in Paris, France.  This collaboration is the first of many in a series of tributes to the striking and effervescent artist.

After 99 sketches, Monsieur Lacroix developed 18 looks “according to a process of shapes in perpetual mutation.”  These eight “symbols”; lobster, pockets, tenue d’alerte, fur, capes, bows, embroideries and draping, are all intertwined throughout the collection making appearances in everything from headdresses to jumpsuits.  In fact, his interpretation of Schiaparelli in the 21st century has resulted in an illustrious display of colors and textures in unexpected silhouettes.  Some stand out’s include a fox fur pencil skirt paired with a coral russet and wool crêpe jacket, a shocking pink coat encased in black lace braids and embroidery, topped off with a lime green headpiece and finally a long black chiffon sheath with black feather sleeves, flat bow detail and gold-embroidered collar.

Although we all wish this was his permanent return to the industry that he so clearly is passionate for, this is a one-time go around for the amazingly talented Lacroix; “it is simply to revisit her collections.”  “I love that she is midway between fashion and history, between costume and couture, the past and the life of today.”

Click through to view the collection:

 Sketches courtesy of Monsieur Lacroix for Schiaparelli Fall 2013 Couture.

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About the Author

Jillian Magenheim is the Editorial Director and Director of Partnerships for She is also a digital media consultant for various fashion and beauty brands. You can follow her thoughts on Twitter @Magenhaz and on Instagram @jillianrose_m