Daniel Roseberry is often referred to as the “The One” “perfect”Maison Schiaparelli creative director. His success in transforming the 95-year old French label into a modern, appropriate couture house for today’s times is not only due to his success but also because he, like Elsa Schiaparelli the scorns the need to separate fashion and art. They prefer to make it radical, blurring the line between fashion designer and visual artist, and then erase it completely.
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Paris Haute Couture Week is perhaps the best setting for Schiaparelli. Although only ordained into the official haute couture Chambre Syndicale in 2017, there are few labels that can so spectacularly resuscitate our nostalgia for imaginative couture than Roseberry’s ‘Schiap’. While he does present pieces that are drawn from the archives, he provides a nuanced sense and direction. His homage to the Schiaparelli aesthetic is not limited to technical prowess.
Roseberry’s collection today offered continued adoration for his founder’s history but also honoured one of its most important influences and past directors, Christian Lacroix. Roseberry was deeply inspired by Lacroix’s romantic, sun-drenched Couture of Arles, South of France, after a conversation. So followed a dreamscape that would celebrate the super-80s decadence of Lacroix’s style as well as Elsa’s infamous history. Garish, glorious florals (lavenders, tulips, daisies) arranged as sprouting explosions on the garments were nods to Lacroix’s love of colour as well as chic interpretations of Elsa Schiaparelli’s 1937 ‘Shocking’Floral perfume bottle. Extravagant millinery in both show-stopping matador hats and Stephen Jones’ ostrich feather masterpieces created drama and shade in the most literal and figurative of ways. And trompe-l’oeils of twining wheat and flowers stitched in graphic tactility to bodices and dresses made a lovely sampling of the famed Schiaparelli collaboration with surrealist Jean Cocteau.
While the silhouettes are distinctly Lacroix-style, they also reflect the glamorous, voluminous Lacroix woman. The founder could have worn the hourglass shapes and feminine constriction through laced corsetry, sharp shoulders, and hourglass shapes, all manipulated with opulent decoration and raucous detail. Additionally, current water-cooler fascinations in stand-alone belle poitrines, sheer beaded negligees and seductively diaphanous body covers reminded us we’re post-Millenia and will undoubtedly see such on the most daring of fashion darlings come the next red carpet. Roseberry’s discourse here was rich and refined, a story of future as seen through the glorious Art Deco, Film Noir and Silver Screen romance of times past. The supreme velvet gowns, oversized rose-wrapped silk hemlines and cocktail-dress high fashion wouldn’t be out of place in a chic remake of Some People Like It Hot and drew a beautiful line to Lacroix’s bubbled taffeta concoctions of the 1980s. The beauty (red lips and slick hair, winged liner, and slick hair) was positioned in an Uptown Girl This was done while the invitation to spectacular baroque-gold jewellery (some earrings so huge they reached the navel) was drew in a sort of remastered Material Girl.
Ms. Schiaparelli’s legacy is legendary. Her collections of wearable surrealism, that spanned the 1920s, 30s and 40s before the label’s eventual closure in the mid 50s, have remained the most conspicuously sculptural and buoyantly artistic of all time. Her well-known collaborative relationships with visual surrealists of the time, Cocteau, Man Ray, Salvador Dalí gifted the world an oeuvre of garments that extended the very meaning of what fashion could be. Her Lobster dress, the Dalí shoe hat, the oversized winged sleeves, the giant embroidered insects and faces onto suits were, at the time, dispelled as a kind of fashion mockery. She was stirring up modernity, tempting style advisors to either love or hate her. Just as any artist of any time sets out to achieve, to create conversation and to craft a unique take on the world around them, it’s easy to see why her particular sartorial sculptures have remained a benchmark for modernity.
Roseberry today has made a return to glamour almost a tradition, but he carries himself with such renegade spirit that his finesse is beyond reproach. His experimental, artistic appliqué (giant feathered sleeves, exuberant sunflower breast plates, cardiac bustiers) and exaggerated cuts are so wholly overt but remain equally dashing and wearable. They are, and they should be. His name is a popular choice for celebrity zeitgeist. Today’s front row included Emma Watson, Hunter Schafer, Rita Ora and Natasha Lyonne. The preceding months saw Beyonce in a black leather moto-dress to the 2022 Grammy Awards, while Bella Hadid in her much-discussed moto-dress was also seen. “lung”Dressed in a custom peace dove gown for the inauguration ceremony of President Joe Biden at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Roseberry is now designing for seasonal collections as well as the red carpet, for important names and for magazine covers. He does it with perfection.
Concurrently, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris has just opened its groundbreaking exhibition centred on Elsa Schiaparelli as prepared and curated by Roseberry and gallery director Oliver Gabet. Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli will present hundreds of original pieces of couture, sketches and designs in a show that will see thousands of guests experience her genius in person while being privy to the label’s future. This meteoric rise to the top of a house that was to be relegated in past tense or revered nostalgia is a cause for celebration.