In an interview with Reuters today, actress and model Farida Khelfa said that Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle will helm the relaunch of haute couture label Schiaparelli, which has laid dormant since 1954. Khelfa, formerly the couture director of Jean Paul Gaultier, will be the resuscitated brand’s first ambassador. Rounding out the creative team is French model and author Inès de la Fressange, who serves as a consultant. An official designer for the label is expected to be announced imminently.
According to Khelfa, Della Valle plans to launch the brand with a prêt-à-couture collection of custom made suits and dresses and eventually branch into jewelry, perfume and accessories once the brand gains some traction. While a February 2013 relaunch date has been floated around in the press, the model emphasized that “Della Valle is not in a hurry.” The Tod’s chairman, who was also noted for reviving luxury footwear label Roger Vivier, bought the Schiaparelli archives and name in 2006 and then waited six years for the original Schiaparelli’s atelier and store address at Place Vendôme to vacate. The relaunched brand plans to stay true to the house’s origial DNA: “anti-conventional, visionary and cosmopolitan.” Schiaparelli was considered Coco Chanel’s contemporary and one of the most prominent fashion designers of the early twentieth century. She is most well known for her collaborations with surrealist artist Salvatore Dali and Jean Cocteau.
Thanks to this year’s Costume Institute Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Schiaparelli has reentered the fashion conversation. According to de la Fressange, “The exhibition at the Met lit the flame, so everything has gathered speed in the last few months.” Fashion critics say that the success of the label will depend on the choosing of the right designer. However, if the buzz at the current Paris Fashion Week shows are any indication – French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt spoke about the relaunch at the recent Christian Dior show and actress Tilda wore original white Schiaparelli gloves from 1936 on the catwalk at Palais de Tokyo – the fashion set is more than ready to welcome the designer name back into its lexicon.