The Mane Occasion. Schiaparelli Shocks For Haute Couture Spring 23
Watching Daniel Rosebery’s Schiaparelli is a bit like watching the most talented kid in art class be given carte blanch with infinite materials, then witnessing the spectacular interpretation of his imagination while wondering what it all means. Presenting for Haute Couture Spring 2023 last night in Paris, Rosbery wielded his new Schiaparelli with a confidence un-rocked by a crowd now bursting with zeitgeisty expectance. Among them celebrities and fashion names all salivating for his next post-modern, neo-Surrealism insurgence. In fact, it’s as though this Rosebery brand of Schiaparelli has always been there, can we imagine an Haute Couture season without it?
Now in his third year as creative director of the once dormant label, Rosebery’s affinity for Ms. Elsa Schiaparelli’s original catalogue plays out as an overture throughout his collections, yet never so loud as to drown out his own composing. Today’s dreamscape came with the title Inferno Couture. A teaser that followed an image of a model gold-sprayed and gold-leaf-layered (courtesy of Pat McGrath) then lacquered with Venetian jewels and golden big-cat sunglasses. A hint that there would be more gold, more big cats to come, perhaps? Upon revealing, the collection was, in fact inspired by the 14th Century poetry of Dante Alghierie and his hell-set Inferno.
Ms. Schiaparelli found success through the unruly (yet cleverly topical) irreverence of surrealist design. Trompe-l’œil appliqué and collaborations with artists (Cocteau, Dalí, Man Ray) saw her able to ignore conservative garb and, quite frankly, design whatever form of wearable art she wanted to – often to critical dismissal. It seems Rosebery has subscribed to this Schiaparelli Guide To Life.
His design abandon this season is already going viral for reasons probably unintended by the designer. Images of Irina Shayk in a languid black gown sporting a life-sized lion’s head as an aggressive brooch, Shalom Harlow in a leopard print gown including the cat’s faux-taxidermy head and Naomi Campbell in a black fur overcoat decorated by a realistic snarling wolf-head are flooding social feeds for all the wrong reasons. The trio of looks were designed to be the three featured animals of Dante’s epic but in practice their graphic nature distilled a glorification of trophy hunting. Perhaps understandably. To the at-large onlooker (and there are far more now thanks to social media’s instant take up of runway video) the pieces looked less like an allegory for sins and redemption and more like a trend towards fashioning endangered species.
If we can look past the Internet Inferno, however, the rest of this collection was an atelier-lead sensation. Breathtaking craftsmanship using exquisite fabrics, many in sculptural forms that offered an incarnation of Ms. Schiaparelli’s own structured suiting. Silhouettes robust and rigid referenced a return to maximal outerwear, with corsetry eyelets and lacing enlarged in expert detail. Peplums, reaming sheaths and mermaid hems once again created Lacroix-inspired theatre while hedonistic head dress in gilt gold and bronze reminded of the Schiaparelli-Cocteau trompe-l’œil faces of circa 1930.
Throughout the collection, Rosebery erected gown bodices into high-rise shields, some layered with peacock illusion, some flat and solid, all appearing to be a kind of personal armour. Glamour came both in the form of glittering, mosaic fringing on column gowns as well as mesmerising two-piece suits customised by cuts of asymmetry and distorted proportion. The Schiaparelli accessory was notably paired back this season, save for a few large gold ‘ear’ motif earrings. In subtle homage, the show finished with a rose gold, silk micro dress that was panelled into three sections. Each panel fastened with a bow ‘handle’ – a new season take on Ms. Schiaparelli’s ‘Drawers’ suit, the infamous design dreamed up (literally) by Salvador Dalí during their collaborative years.
Daniel Rosebery has a way of creating a moment. Prior to the show Kylie Jenner was already being photographed wearing the aforementioned lion head gown. She then sat front row trying to, somewhat comically, navigate her eyesight over the top of its gargantuan mane. A meme waiting to happen. It’s a shame this collection will likely be drowned out by these looks, both for their sour association and for their Tik Tok sensibility. Nevertheless, the Schiaparelli name has long been one both adored and loathed, discussed and desired, perhaps Rosebery is simply, unconsciously, continuing the tradition.
Source: Prestige Online