Elsa Schiaparelli had Salvador Dalí for Surrealist inspiration. The house’s current Creative Director, Daniel Roseberry, has Nadia Lee Cohen. A multi-hyphenate model-photographer-artist, she’s hot off of the launch of her latest campaign, which saw her transform Kim Kardashian into a 1980s glamazon for Skims’s metallic swimwear collection, a retrofuturism confection of blonde bouffants, pampered poodles and turquoise eyeshadow.
While last season saw Cohen and the short-lived, enigmatic power couple of Ye and Julia Fox on the front row, Sabrina Dhowre-Elba, Pixie Lott and Emma Watson were on-call to show their support this season. Meanwhile, just over 3,000 online voyeurs worldwide excitedly quipped in the comments of the YouTube livestream pre-show. ‘I want to be your husband, Daniel!’ said one, as others speculated who had received the prestigious invitation. ‘Is Julia Fox gonna be there?’ asked one, ‘Is CL [the K-Pop megastar] attending?’ said another. It was a no to Fox, a yes to CL, and there was even a royal appearance in the form of the Princess of Thailand, Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, dressed in a double-denim ensemble from the house’s AW21 ready-to-wear line.
After guests took their seats and the lights of the Musée Des Arts Décoratifs were dimmed, the shadowy silhouette of Roseberry’s first look appeared, a My Fair Lady-esque nipped waist gown featuring bold shoulders and a deconstructed torso, which showcased the intricate boning of the silk corset beneath. As the model descended the velvet-adorned staircase, there was no question that unfathomable glamour was on the agenda for Schiaparelli this season. ‘This is the return of couture!’ said Editor, Richard Dennen.
This season, Roseberry returned to the very meaning of fashion for inspiration for his aptly named ‘Born Again’ collection. ‘All of us who work in fashion know that the rest of the world thinks that what we do is silly. It’s a boring criticism, and we all argue otherwise, but if you think about it, fashion is silly at times. It’s also provocative, upending, challenging and meaningful. It’s breathtaking. It’s beautiful,’ said the designer. High-brow fashion exemplar was certainly on offer, as embodied by supermodel and former Tatler cover star, Eva Herzigová, in a black velvet pencil skirt with outré cream silk sleeves that gathered like melting caramel. Elsewhere, pastel silk skirts were tucked neatly like the petals of a rose, creating bold and unabashedly glamorous shapes and voluminous hemlines. Speaking of flora, bouquets erupted from the busts of tailored jackets and corsets in an apparent explosion of flower-power-gone-fabulous. This was fashion personified.
Unbridled resplendence was the order of the day, with velvet gowns accentuated with ruched silk bustles, peaked bodices with deep navel-grazing necklines and a legion of models in marvellous millinery, as if off to Ascot on Planet Glam. Thick velvet chokers were a recurring theme, as were statement gold embellishments. Elsewhere in the collection, dresses masterfully created entirely of strands of pearls and beads made for a glittering affair of bijoux-as-bodywear.
Since Roseberry’s arrival at the house in 2019, the designer-extraordinaire has returned Schiaparelli to the forefront of fashion, creating ambitiously elegant designs brought to life through the guise of surrealist intellectualism. His signature beguiling riffs of seasons past were rife throughout today’s collection in the form breastplates à la SS21, decadently beaded boleros from AW21’s ‘Matador Couture’, and gilded gold accoutrements reminiscent of SS22’s jewellery-heavy ensembles. Today, the continuation of the house’s ‘toe-heels’ were yet another reminder of the weird and wonderful whimsy that transcends all things Schiaparelli.
Thanks to Roseberry, Paris Couture Week is off to a great start, having provided an unapologetically extravagant debut of the new season’s collections. So lace up your boots and button up your gowns because couture is back, baby! And Roseberry is the Zeitgeist.
Originally published in Tatler.com