“In difficult times fashion is always outrageous“, Elsa Schiaparelli once said. Daniel Roseberry believes so as well – his latest, fabulously dramatic haute couture collection for Schiaparelli is the best proof for that. Visitors at the brand’s Place Vendôme salons are greeted by a lavish wedding gown. Typically, couture shows end with the bride, but Daniel Roseberry gave pride of place to the dress constructed from 70 meters of white cartridge pleated taffeta. “We’ve had so many requests from clients who come looking for this irreverent grandeur that we’ve been doing,” he said. Roseberry’s bride is not the shy, retiring type, but she is representative of what the designer described as the “new kind of prettiness” he was after this season. If this collection is as intense as his past outings, it’s a shade or two less irreverent. There are none of the molded leather six-pack abs corsets that were the defining looks of his last couture, for example. He came at prettiness in several different ways. Following on from that entrance-making bride is a salon devoted to embroidered jackets. These borrow as much from Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier as they do from Schiaparelli, with their curvaceous shapes, Versailles colors, and cone bra references. One black jacket blooms with pink silk roses, an ode to a collaboration between Schiap and Jean Cocteau circa 1937. Others are embellished with decades-old gold Schiaparelli threads that the embroiderer Lesage had saved in its stockpiles. All of them are trophies, perhaps especially the denim jacket that’s patch-worked from 11 pairs of used Levi’s sourced at a local vintage store – the very essence of haute friperie. Where this season’s jackets have a delicious propriety, a sculpted gold flower corset worn with a skirt barely clinging to the hips, and a scoop-front dress with a breastplate made of gold-dipped bronchi – the lungs being a locus of our attention in the pandemic – are more provocative. A silver bustier is accessorized by a fringed stole made from shredded black garbage bags, of all things. That’s couture heresy – and fabulously so. For the dessert, a cocktail dress punctuated by a shocking pink rose, a strapless black gown featuring a bust-line shaped like fiery orange lips with a matching train, and a voluminous infanta gown in a shade of lavender Roseberry said that he’s never used before. In his two years at Schiaparelli, he’s only doubled-down on the surreal glamour this historic house is known for. Turns out, he’s very good at pretty, too.
Collages by Edward Kanarecki.