Even though couture looks like pure fantasy — dresses made of fog, shimmering fabrics spun with liquid gemstones, with price-tags only princesses could get down with — it is made by actual people, using actual materials, in actual workplaces. Even the most fairytale-esque couture houses like Schiaparelli operate under some of the same pressures, get stuck on the same kinds of hurdles, and rely on the same things to fuel marathon work-sessions (like a really good Spotify playlist).
In the last episode of our One Look partnership with Visionaire, we strapped a GoPro onto Marion L, the right-hand person of creative director Bertrand Guyon. For four days, we tracked every move she and Guyon made — and because it was just a camera (and not a full crew), what you’ll experience is the closest thing to being a fly on the wall. This film focuses on the creation of Look #23, a fluttering blue gown covered in trompe l’ceil carp spirals, a reality-bending technique that Elsa Schiaparelli favoured. "The look was inspired by the symbolic meaning of carp as a lucky animal," Guyon told us. "We created the print in the studio before sending it to be printed on silk chiffon. Then, we cut and embroidered petals of the print that we applied here and there so that they would seem like flying petals — and a nod to the scale of the carp — but in a light and subtle way.
It's a dress that’s emblematic of the ideals that Elsa was committed to when she started the line exactly 90 years ago: shocking colour, surrealism, and clothes that fit and flatter a woman on the move. But those values are manifest by real processes. "The studio is the heart of the [Schiaparelli] house," says Guyon. "Everything comes from here. [The process] has to remain confidential so that we are able to nurture our ideas and keep the focus. The film shows something that hardly anyone outside the studio team sees!"
Take a look at our video above for a rare glimpse inside.