INTERVIEW: Schiaparelli’s Farida Khelfa

 

Jean Paul Gaultier says she is the ultimate Parisienne: Farida Khelfa. MIRROR MIRROR speaks the beautiful Schiaparelli ambassador at the Schiaparelli maison at Place Vendôme. 

 

How would you describe maison Schiaparelli?
“Eclectic, open, funny and rigorous. But above all eclectic.”

You’re the ambassador of maison Schiaparelli.  How would you describe your task?
“Ha yes, my job sounds a bit mysterious. Well, I work here with everyone, with the studio, the couture department, the atelier and I meet clients. I am involved at each stage of every process - from the sketch to the show. We have done three collections now and have to build the house.”

What was your motivation to take this job?
“Because the name Schiaparelli is so big in the fashionworld. I’ve heard so much about Elsa Schiaparelli, first in the eighties, while working with Azzedine Alaïa who talked about her. My friend Jean Paul Gaultier also loves Schiaparelli.  So to me it was like a dream to build this house and brand that is so full of mystery and so inspiring the designers of today. I mean Schiaparelli was - and still is - like a goldmine for every designer. For me this job is really an opportunity, though when I was asked for making a movie, but I couldn’t say no because it’s such a wonderful brand.
“If I dive into the archive, I see all those amazing embroideries, or the famous zipperdress that was so innovative in the thirties… Schiaparelli is the DNA of fashion, for all the designers.”

Which Schiaparelli items do you like to wear?
“The highwaisted pants are very me, I have a preference for pants. And I love suits, I feel really comfortable in them.”

Do you only wear couture?
“Noooo! I wear Zara, H & M and other brands. I mix. Just like Schiaparelli who put cheap plastic buttons on expensive Lesage embroidered jackets. A total look of one prêt-à-porter house is not that interesting, it’s boring. Except when it’s couture." 

Are you interested in perfumes
“Yes I love it. And I also love make up, all the girl things! I can spend hours in Sephora, more then in clothes shop.” 

Did you ever smell Schiaparelli’s Shocking fragrance?
It’s too old, I know it was a very strange fragrance, but I never smelled it.”

Isn’t it very special that couture still exists?
“You know there are a lot of young women from all over the word who buy couture? It’s a whole bunch of new clients. It’s very interesting to make your own story with couture, if you can afford it off course. And yes those young clients understand how much effort goes into making a special dress, that it can take 300 hours for Lesage just to make the embroideries.

Does Schiaparelli attract more young people nowadays?
“Hopefully yes, hahaha, but we don’t have a certain type of client in mind, we have young and older clients, we dress everyone.