After relaunching just three years ago, the house of Schiaparelli has been inducted into the elite group of official haute couture houses by the Fédération Française de la Couture, WWD has reported. French fashion designer Julien Fournié, who founded his eponymous label in 2009 after working as creative director of Torrente, was also given couture status. The two houses have joined a group of just 15 brands who are allowed to call themselves “haute couture,” which include established labels such as Chanel, Maison Margiela, Christian Dior, and most recently, Alexandre Vauthier and Alexis Mabille. (There are also 20 guest members and seven correspondents, the latter of whom include designers like Giorgio Armani and Azzedine Alaïa.)
This is a big deal for both houses (the highly coveted title is protected by French law, after all), but specifically for Schiaparelli. The iconic label, which was founded in 1927 by Elsa Schiaparelli, a rival of Coco Chanel throughout the '30s, shuttered in 1954. It was revived in 2013 by Diego Della Valle, the CEO of Tod’s. The house relaunched with Marco Zanini at its helm, but, following his departure from brand, Bertrand Guyon was tapped last year as his successor. Guyon, formerly of Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, and Valentino, is a graduate of the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. (His Fall 2016 lineup was inspired by American sculptor Alexander Calder, which was in line with Elsa Schiaparelli’s famous collaborations with Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.) He’s set to show his Spring 2017 couture collection for the house on January 24.
Whether haute couture has a place in our consumer-driven fashion climate is certainly a question worth asking, but being a member still holds weight. "I think originality is needed," Rolf Snoeren told us after Viktor & Rolf's Fall 2016 couture showing. "...There are clients who will want to have something that’s made for them and for nobody else. I hope couture will always exist, and I think it will always exist because it’s about uniqueness and accessing the inaccessible."