The Genteel
April 17, 2021


Elsa Schiaparelli. Source:

Everybody loves a comeback - Robert Downey Jr., Britney Spears, Betty White, Britney Spears again - but resurrecting the now-defunct Schiaparelli brand has the fashion realm drooling with anticipation. The announcement came during the height of Schiaparelli buzz this week with the opening of  Impossible Conversations at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, an exhibition featuring two Italian design icons, Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. The opening also coincided with the annual Met Gala (otherwise known as Oscar night for fashion).

Earlier this week, Italian design powerhouse, Diego Della Valle, who serves as the president and CEO of the leather goods company, Tod's S.p.A Group, announced that he would spearhead the brand's revival. The new collection will be its first since 1954.

Diego Della Valle Elsa Schiaparelli
Diego Della Valle.

Back in 2007, Della Valle purchased all of the trademarks and archives of the Schiaparelli group, which prompts us to believe that he may have been biding his time with the announcement. And there is no denying that the news of the revival couldn't have come at a more opportune moment. This week saw celebrities, designers, models and fashion pundits alike honouring and celebrating the brand's founder, Elsa Schiaparelli. Gisele Bundchen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna, Heidi Klum, Anna Wintour and even Tim Tebow (yes, you read that correctly: the quarterback was also in attendance!) gathered to honour the couture trailblazer.

Known for her rivalry with Coco Chanel in the 1930s, Roman native Elsa Schiaparelli coined women's shorts, wedge heels and coloured zippers, unseen and unheard of during that time period. Her catwalk shows were rife with drama, bold textiles and of course, a lot of fur. Her surreal, whimsical and dreamy designs challenged mainstream fashion and the status quo. Not surprisingly, her notorious monkey fur boots would even break boundaries on the runways of today. 

Now, as the 40th anniversary of the fashion maven's death approaches, Schiaparelli's label will be reborn with a collection of accessories, makeup and cosmetics. Not to worry, there will be apparel too, undoubtedly in Schiaparelli's quintessential dauntless spirit.

Known for her rivalry with Coco Chanel in the 1930s, Roman native Elsa Schiaparelli coined women's shorts, wedge heels and coloured zippers, unseen and unheard of during that time period.

In an interview with Women's Wear Daily, Della Valle revealed details of his plans to bring the World War II-era line into the modern day, while keeping true to its traditional and classic roots. "The idea with Schiaparelli is to propose the brand with all its modernity, and represent dreams, art and all the most sophisticated things we can do….This brand doesn't have to get involved in the frenetic world of numbers, accounts and dimensions, but it just has to express itself at its best. The heart of this project will be the Parisian maison in Place Vendôme, in the original location where the first atelier was," Della Valle said.

Ever the graceful and sophisticated trendsetter, Della Valle has also enlisted french model-turned-actress-turned-director Farida Khelfa to be the face of the reincarnated brand. We have high hopes that she'll be able to rock Schiaparelli's shocking bright pink effortlessly.

Della Valle is slated to unveil the designer who will spearhead the look's new direction in September. However, credible rumours and whispers have hinted at John Galliano heading the project. But we chalk it up to wishful thinking, as Della Valle and Galliano's publicist have denied the rumous linking Galliano to the creative directorship at Schiaparelli. In 2007, word got out that Della Valle had approached Brit designer Giles Deacon to help relaunch the Schiaparelli fashion house, but again, the powers that be are keeping very hush-hush on the mystery man (or woman). All we know for sure is that our top secret designer will have to get to work almost immediately, as the collection is expected to debut in February 2013.

The downside? Della Valle will be following the prêt-a-couture pricing scheme, which essentially translates to extremely expensive products - items only Kate Middleton and J.K. Rowling can afford. We'll be watching with bated breath and hungry eyes for the revamped collection. 



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