Schiaparelli Couture Fall Winter 2014 Paris
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"Moderation is not the style of Elsa," stated Marco Zanini after his sophomore haute couture show for the house of Schiaparelli. That was a sentiment certainly felt on the catwalk today where the designer sent out a collection which made clear references to Schiaparelli's 1930s heyday, as well as the style of chic women living in occupied France in the 1940s.

Each outfit in the show was a story unto itself. A boxy double breasted leopard print coat with voluminous sable sleeves had little in common with a deep navy velvet dress embellished with a three dimensional bleeding heart, it's ruby beaded blood drops shimmering down the body, or a purple jumpsuit festooned with abstract metallic foliage. But as distinctive as each ensemble was, unlike with his first outing, Zanini found a way to give this couture collection a common thread.

The connection was made via in his chosen exaggerated silhouettes. The pieces were linked by sharp linebacker shoulders on all of the outerwear, trousers cut extra wide- sometimes starting well above the waistline- and dresses were all given a visual depth thanks to some arresting three dimensional embroidery.

Extravagant too were the impressive hats worn with each look. The colorful turkey feather bangs headbands, conical party hats and sequined snoods all masterfully concocted by Stephen Jones who said his brief for the show was "to make it like a wardrobe of hats. One for every occasion."And yes most of this show was designed with occasion dressing in mind. For the new Schiaparelli client is, according to Zanini, "looking for something unique and extraordinary."

That was unquestionably the case in terms of the idiosyncratic prints the designer incorporated into the collection. Each one was more eye catching then the last. A pigeon printed pair of pants came with each bird's gimlet eye crafted from yellow sequins. A mint green pleated skirt spliced together images of some of the founders favorite dogs. And perhaps most daring of all a gown covered in a rather primitive print of squirrels and rats adorned with sequins, beading, and crystals.

Underneath all the bold designs were a few slightly subtler options like a black dress with the fabric gathered at the back or a silk purple jumpsuit. But Zanini has now made it perfectly clear that you don't go to Schiaparelli if you want understated couture. What would be the point in that?

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