Sep 30, 2013
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Schiaparelli appoints Marco Zanini as creative director

Sep 30, 2013

PARIS, France - Diego Della Valle, the Italian fashion mogul behind Tod's, has appointed Marco Zanini, ex-Rochas, as the creative director of Schiaparelli, the sleepy fashion brand he relaunched a year ago.

The brand had remained without a chief designer since then.

Marco Zanini (photo: Christophe Roué)

Elsa Schiaparelli, inspired by artists such as Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali, was a rival of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and made her mark in the fashion world with sharply cut suits ornamented with drawings from her artist friends.

Seven years ago, Della Valle acquired the brand which had laid dormant since 1954, hoping to replicate the success he had resuscitating shoemaker Roger Vivier, Tod's Group's fastest growing brand whose sales more than doubled in 2012.

The re-launch of Schiaparelli a year ago, spearheaded by model Farida Khelfa, was widely covered by the media but the brand kept fashion editors guessing about the identity of its soon-to-be appointed chief designer.

Christian Lacroix designed a few dresses for Schiaparelli, shown during the July series of Haute couture shows in Paris, but none of the outfits could be bought as the exercise was only aimed at underscoring Schiaparelli's legacy.

Zanini, 42, was at Rochas since 2009 and previously worked with Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. He will present his first collection during Haute Couture week in Paris in January.

"She was able to anticipate the trends of her time but with a relevance to daily living, approaching creativity from a different point of view," Zanini said in a statement about Schiaparelli. "My wish is to revive the incredible aesthetic of this iconic Couture house."

Della Valle aims to kick-start the business with custom-made suits and dresses. Once the label generates sufficient sales and builds up its profile, it will branch out into accessories, perfume and jewellery, Khelfa told Reuters at the time of the launch last year.

The brand had to wait six years for the lease at its original address, 21 Place Vendome, to become free again and it refurbished it lavishly with surrealist drawings and sculptures by Alberto Giacometti.

Schiaparelli's memorable pieces include the lobster dress, one of her most famous collaborations with Dali, worn by American socialite Wallis Simpson and photographed by Cecil Beaton just before her marriage to Edward VIII in 1937.

Other pieces include shoe hats, gloves with golden nails, lip-shaped buttons as well as knitted sweaters with trompe-l'oeil bows and neckties.

To lead the brand on the business side, Della Valle has hired Camilla Schiavone who used to head L'Oreal's luxury perfume division in Italy.

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