End Time Fashion with Some Offkilter Schiaparelli Surrealism

Schiaparelli couture fall 2015 fur

(Schiaparelli Couture F’15)

There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.

– Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí

Too much thinking and not enough imagination = war.

Schiaparelli lobster dressAt least according to the high profile group of writers, painters, artsy types who made Paris of the 1920s such a bubbling hotbed of creativity.

World War I, they believed, could have been prevented had the unconscious been freed from the fetters of excessive rational thought. While imagination wasn’t necessarily more important than all things ordinary, what was vital was that the ordinary not straightjacket the creative; rather, the pacifist health of society was best served when the everyday was depicted, perceived and expressed in ways that did not in any way impede the imagination from a full range of expression.

They way they arranged everyday objects into strange new creatures, juxtaposed items in unexpected ways and photographed precise – but intensely illogical – scenes unnerved (unwary) viewers.

Mon dieu – c’est tres, tres…surreal!

While term itself was coined by the French poet and writer Guillaume Apollinaire in the preface to Les Mamelles de Tirésias, a play he penned in 1903 and first saw performed in  1917, it was fellow French poet and writer André Breton who founded the movement known as Surrealism – which included Paul Éluard, Benjamin Péret, René Crevel, Robert Desnos, Jacques Baron, Max Morise,Pierre Naville, Roger Vitrac, Gala Éluard, Jacques Prévert, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Hans Arp, Georges Malkine, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour, Antonin Artaud, Raymond Queneau, André Masson, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp. (image)

Surrealism rene magritte woman fish beach(Collective Invention by René Magritte (1934) – via source)

To free people from false rationality, restrictive customs and suffocating structures, the Surrealists embraced Freud’s approach to liberating the imagination with dream analysis and writing in a freeform, spontaneous flow unfettered by editing and censoring – called automatic writing. And while the results were predictably quirky, idiosyncratic and downright weird, the Surrealists felt they were not – at the deepest levels – insane or mad.

Schiaparelli couture fall 2015 furJust ask Bertrand Guyon, the latest creative director at Schiaparelli, herself a noted Surrealist designer in her day (the iconic Lobster dress was hers). “Of course we can’t do ’30s fashion,” he explains. “But my vision of Schiaparelli is also this kind of thing. Not only pink, not only surrealism, Dalí. She did so many things. It’s important to balance.”

Which isn’t an easy feat, in a world currently so totally out of balance. Exhibit A: the Doomsday Clock, which was recently moved to 3 minutes to midnight – aka This is The End, My Only Friend, The End – thanks to “unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals which pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity.”

– Lesley Scott

These furs by Guyon for Schiaparelli Couture (Fall 2015) struck me as a timely expression of the Mad Max’ish, Endtimes-are-nigh mentality of the Apocalytical fashion tribe. For more of my posts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion’s four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.

– Lesley Scott

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