Spring 2022 Haute Couture Fashion Week got off to a good start on Monday with the unveiling of Schiaparelli’s first in-person couture show since the pandemic began.
Since joining the house in 2019, Daniel Roseberry has gradually breathed new life into the house, sparking renewed interest via inventive design still rooted in Schiaparelli codes and a slew of celebrity highlights. If expectations were high for his return to the catwalks, the designer did not disappoint.
Interestingly, Roseberry’s path to this outstanding otherworldly collection involved an exercise in cutting things down. In the refreshingly simple show notes, he explained how he started designing the collection last April during that “brief period of hope” when we all thought Covid would soon be behind us. When that turned out not to be the case, he felt loss and exhaustion.
The loss of people, the most heartbreaking. But also, the loss of certainty; our loss of security; the loss of our collective future. There’s also the pervasive sense of exhaustion that we all feel: that roll of red carpet appearances, award shows, even fashion presentations – something about that feels dull. Aren’t we all exhausted by it all? Fashion has insisted on its relevance for the past couple of years, and yet I feel that even some of its practitioners are no longer convinced. What does fashion mean, what does fashion say, at a time when everything is in motion? And, vis-à-vis this House, what does surrealism mean when reality itself has been redefined?
According to the show notes, the designer decided to remove color and volume from his designs during the fitting process. “All the tricks that couture designers (myself included) use to communicate grandeur and craftsmanship — big silhouettes, gorgeous poufs of fabric, huge volume — felt hollow,” he wrote. “Instead, I wanted to see if we could achieve the same kind of drama and otherworldliness without relying on those tropes.”
He did just that, using only black, white and gold (a shade of gold specially formulated for the house that took several seasons to perfect), the latter being often used in props and sculptural props that are dizzying feats of engineering. Roseberry had in mind “a mythical high priestess, both goddess and alien…whose very clothes defied the rules of gravity”.
The relative simplicity of the expertly cut garments – sophisticated but bold black and white dresses and jackets – make these pieces shine, but without falling completely into the background. The result is beautiful and magical, as only sewing can be.
Roseberry also wrote about how designing this collection reminded him why he loves fashion: “It’s not for celebrities. It’s not for tastes. It’s not for critics. It’s because when it’s done well, when it has something to say to us, it can help us feel the inarticulate.It’s because it still has the power to move us.
Discover the entire Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring 2022 collection in the gallery below.
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