Schiaparelli: Diego Della Valle’s vision for expanding the “Sleeping Beauty” brand.

Paris – When Diego Della Valle, Todd’s chairman, bought Schiaparelli in 2007, the brand was little more than a legendary name and a small office on Paris’s Place Vendôme filled with drawings and recordings. The house ceased producing collections in 1954, and its licensing business, including branded fragrances packaged in surrealist bottles, has long since dried up.

But Della Valle saw the potential to revive the dormant haute couture house, a brand called “Sleeping Beauty” that its founder Elsa Schiaparelli had placed at the forefront of modern luxury. Schiaparelli’s clothing blended high fashion prowess with provocative design, while occupying a place in the cultural zeitgeist through partnerships with artists such as Salvador Dali and Man Ray, as well as designing clothes for clients such as Marlene Dietrich.

In the last years, Della Valle and a team including CEO Delphine Bellini and Daniel Rosebery (the brand’s creative director since 2019) restored the house piece by piece, sometimes almost literally as the brand reclaimed the leases for its historic center on Place Vendôme one room at a time. Schiaparelli’s nerve center since 1935 is bustling once again, housing a boutique and couture salon on the light-filled third floor as well as the company’s offices, design studio and atelier.

“The strategy is building the dream, and 21 Place Vendôme is the symbol,” Della Valle said in an exclusive interview. Federal Reserve Bank. “We were very fortunate to have the building back that it was in 70 years ago. I walk outside the Ritz after dinner and say, ‘Oh my God, this is a dream.

actually, Revitalization of the Schiaparelli brand in line with efforts to restore its material heritage The project stands apart from other attempts to awaken the “sleeping beauties”. While efforts to relaunch brands including Vionnet, Poiret and Patou have, at times, seemed contrived, it’s increasingly easy to forget that Schiaparelli disappeared at all thanks to the immersive physical experiences it offers in the Vendôme space, filled with surreal flourishes like Hand. -Painted wallpaper and fish-shaped lounge chairs.

But rooting the project in a physical center isn’t the only thing Della Valle did right. The house’s strategy was to aim high, not broad: to reclaim its authority in design and craftsmanship by showcasing only haute couture collections for nearly a decade before gradually expanding its offering to include ready-to-wear, shoes, bags and jewellery.

Keyholes and almost cast bronze are key symbols of the Schiaparelli revival, as seen in the new brand "Schlapp" bag.

“The dream is to create one of the most glamorous and exclusive brands in the world – very desirable, with unusual but very powerful products – and to build an important story with the most discerning customers,” Della Valle explained.

Awareness of the Schiaparelli name has risen to new heights since American designer Roseberry put forward an immersive, luxurious vision to bring the brand’s icons to life. His attractive designs are trompe-l’œil It was catnip for celebrity stylists, creating big moments on social media.

Earlier this year, Rosebery’s choice to show off plush cat heads during Couture Week was criticized online as glamorous big game hunting (particularly when some viewers mistook it for actual taxidermy). But the dust has done little to slow the house’s expansion as it seeks to capitalize on peak visibility by selling more practical products as well as marketing its high-fashion imagination.

Ready-to-wear batch

Alongside his eye-catching bespoke rides, Rosebery delved into the house’s archives to create a 360-degree catalog of the brand’s signatures including keyholes, measuring tapes and anatomical embellishments to spread across the product lines. His ready-to-wear and accessories collections often take a bold, sexy spin on traditional feminine elegance: think ultra-precise tweed jackets with ear-shaped buttons, or high-heeled shoes with bronze nails.

After attracting interest with its initial ready-to-wear capsules sold only at the brand’s Place Vendôme salon, the brand expanded the line into a full collection and opened its first US store inside Bergdorf Goodman in New York in 2021. The brand organized its first full store – A sophisticated display of ready-to-wear clothing will be held next March.

Since then, Schiaparelli has opened stores within stores at Neiman Marcus in Los Angeles and Dallas, as well as a 1,600-square-foot space at the iconic Harrods department store in London. Storage section. Simon Longland, the store’s purchasing director, said Harrods was on track to triple its first-year target. “Customer reaction has been immediate. Distribution is still very small, and this scarcity is fueling demand.

“It’s quite unique but also easy to read and understand,” Longland added. “There are all these connotations that it’s a stylish, sophisticated way to get recognition without having to use a logo.”

Schiaparelli Spring/Summer 2024 collection

In the luxury market, where high-spending, affluent customers are driving growth, it may help for Schiaparelli that its expansion into ready-to-wear isn’t entry-level easy. The brand’s €5,400 jackets and €4,500 bronze-embellished platform shoes are positioned halfway between luxury ready-to-wear and couture. Even the shirts are priced at 750 euros (and they are decorated with a false nipple piercing).

But even as the brand’s commercial offering begins to gain more traction, this small network of stores will likely struggle to generate revenues commensurate with the cost of operating a high-end fashion house inside some of the world’s most luxurious properties. According to public filings, Schiaparelli continues to report operating losses and has deferred repayments on millions of euros in loans from its Italian parent company. “The brand’s startup phase has been extended due to the pandemic,” the filings state. Schiaparelli declined to provide further information about its revenues or profits.

Forty stores

Signaling a big expansion plan: To capitalize on the current momentum, Della Valle says the brand will increase its store count to 30 or 40 locations midway through the term. “We want to push this forward as quickly as possible — but with a wise strategy,” Della Valle said.

In Paris, the brand is preparing to open a new couture salon on its second floor, creating more space in the rest of the building to sell to clients across categories.

In addition to more locations selling the full Schiaparelli offering, the plan is also to start rolling out dedicated accessories and footwear corners next year. Such a move could help expand its audience base among the crowds that gather at the ground floor handbag showrooms of department stores.

Designer Daniel Rosebery and model Irina Shayk backstage at Schiaparelli's Spring/Summer 2024 ready-to-wear show.

The accessories pop-up currently on display at Harrods (next to the store’s busiest entrance) is an initial test to see how well Schiaparelli bags, shoes and jewelery will fare among a wide range of consumers.

Perfume potential

Once the ready-to-wear and accessories networks are established, Della Valle says he sees huge potential in eventual expansion into fragrance and beauty – a category where Schiaparelli brand awareness will be a key asset, and where it has a serious archive including super-collectible bottle designs from Salvador Dali.

The beauty license will represent a welcome bonus day for Della Valle after more than a decade of investing in Schiaparelli’s comeback. But amid the rise of luxury fragrance specialists like Le Labo and Byredo, it’s not clear whether the airport and department store fragrances that are the bread and butter of big franchise companies like Coty and L’Oréal will match Schiaparelli’s designs. Driven strategy. Gucci owner Kering recently launched an in-house beauty division with the aim of reclaiming parts of its beauty business from licensees and gaining tighter control over its image.

Della Valle declined to comment further on Schiaparelli’s beauty plans, simply saying it would be the “final piece” of the strategy once ready-to-wear and accessories are firmly established. “The key will always be to balance exclusivity and turnover – to have luxury turnover,” he said.

(tags for translation) Designers

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