Creative Director Daniel Roseberry’s collection captures the fashion house’s signature penchant for play and surrealism.
Late legendary fashion photographer Bill Cunningham once said “fashion is the armor to survive everyday life.” There is perhaps no better line that explains why such fantastical forms and silhouettes descend down the runway. Beyond utility, fashion has the means to become art. Creative director Daniel Roseberry’s Schiaparelli show, which kicked off this season’s couture week, embodies just that.
The Italian-French fashion house whimsically debuted its Haute Spring/Summer 2023 collection, with models walking out in perfume-bottle-shaped gowns, golden bodices, shell-covered dresses, and fake animal heads.
According to Roseberry, the piercing, surreal forms were an homage to Dante’s Inferno, the first part of Alighieri’s 14th-century poem The Divine Comedy. “We all know this work, by name if not by heart. And yet when I revisited it recently, I was struck by something I’d missed when I first encountered it,” he says.
The designer explains that the middle-aged Dante finds himself on the journey of life. “As he climbs deeper into hell, he realizes just how little he actually knows,” says Roseberry. “What appealed to me in the Inferno wasn’t just the theatrics of Dante’s creation, it was how perfect a metaphor it provided for the torment that every artist or creative person experiences…when we have that moment in which we’re shaken by what we don’t know.”
For Roseberry, the collection center’s on the idea of doubt, and his attempt to embrace what we do not understand. “Nothing is as it appears to be in these clothes.”
“I also took direct inspiration from some of his most arresting images,” he says. “The leopard, the lion, and the she-wolf—representing lust, pride, and avarice, respectively—find form here in spectacular faux-taxidermy creations, constructed entirely by hand, from foam, resin, and other manmade materials.”
Supermodels Shalom Harlow, Naomi Campbell, and Irina Shayk each stepped out wearing one of the hand-crafted animal heads. Harlow dons a sleek strapless dress with a snow leopard head for a bodice. Shayk’s black one-shoulder number is highlighted with the head of a lion. Campbell appears in a commanding faux fur coat with a resin wolf glaring on one shoulder.
Like many fashion houses as of late, Schiaparelli continues the trend of using their celebrity front-row guests as an extension of their collections. But Roseberry goes the extra mile by inviting award-winning makeup artist Pat McGrath and Grammy-award-winning musician Doja Cat to collaborate with him on the final aspect of his narrative.
After four hours of painstaking artistry, Doja Cat emerged glistening red from head to toe, covered in over 30,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystals. The look was completed with a corseted bodice, beaded skirt, and shawl, all in the same scarlet shade.
The musician took her place in the audience, an arms-length away from Kylie Jenner, who similarly stunned in her own velvet bodycon gown and lion’s head.
Schiaparelli’s collection was just one of the first in a long lineup of highly anticipated shows, but its artistry, craftsmanship, and narrative has fashion followers all around the world excited for what’s to come.