Schiaparelli by Daniel Roseberry – Matador collection proof that if you give designers time to grow into the house, they will flourish.

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Too often designers are given a few seasons to prove themselves and if they don’t reach the desired goals immediately they are replaced. I’ve watched the Maison Schiaparelli through numerous designers over the years and always felt like something was missing. Last season I started to feel like Roseberry was conquering the house but this season, in my opinion, he realised the essence of what the house is about and he did it in his own way. His inspirations came from a combination of Manet; Lacroix; a bit of 1980’s mixed with 1880’s, a little matador; a little space alien; a little Ingres; shimmer and color. And yes, 4th couture collection for Daniel Roseberry and it was sublime.

“I wanted to honor the potential and power of the art form by returning to the fashion I loved in my youth. Blind nostalgia isn’t healthy: we can’t romanticize the past, especially when, for so many groups of people, the past wasn’t romantic at all. But the gift of fashion is its ability to allow us to pretend, and that is its promise as well; if we dream hard enough, maybe we can will that beautiful past into existence.

This collection was conceived in three parts. The first pays tribute to Schiaparelli jackets of the past: you see references to the Maison’s earlier, iconic shapes in the white denim matador-inspired cropped jacket embellished with embroidered barrel sleeves and black silk tassels, worn over a structured tulle skirt. You see it in the black wool crepe curved-sleeve one, heavily embroidered with dozens of shell-pink silk roses – a direct homage to the Jean Cocteau x Schiaparelli masterpiece from 1937. You see most of it in the multicolor peau de soie Look 1, a garment made of vintage Schiaparelli swatches we collaged together and recreated exactly. I think of them all as being in conversation with some of Elsa Schiaparelli’s most irreverent, imaginative creations from the late 30s, all recreated here by Lesage using many of the same techniques and materials.

The second part of the collection focuses on the body and bijoux, a key element of the house’s visual vocabulary. Here you have dialogs between hard and soft, machine and human, metal and fabric. Here is a delicate pair of human lungs, seemingly crafted from a web of capillaries dipped in gold, worn atop severe black crepe gown. Here are moldings of the torso paired with a stole made of black shredded trash bags that are knit together in pure silk.  Also bijoux becomes embroidery: the nose, the stomach, endless pairs of lips and ceramic eyes, hand-patinaed in the house’s signature Giacometti-inspired gold, and set in rococo frames. Here are the accessories: a minaudiere shaped like a giant pair of lips; a belt clasp with a cast hand that seems to hug the wearer across her waist.

Finally, there’s a celebration of color, a black stretch velvet dress, perfectly fitted, with a gigantic shocking-pink silk faille rose at its center; a silk velvet dress with soft, semi-conical breasts and, in the back, a crisp fan of Renaissance-blue peau de soie. Everything here feels both over-the-top and intentional: the colors—cornflower blues, salmony pinks, terracotta oranges—are as flamboyant and joyous as the shapes themselves.

It is unapologetically emotional, this collection, as giddy as falling in love. It is also a tribute to romance, to excess, to dreams, because really, is there anything more urgent today than dreaming big? Than dreaming of a better world? Of grabbing every piece of beauty with both hands?

Here’s what I want: No more cookie-cutter fashion. No more pieces that look like they could have been made by anyone. No more cynicism. No more irony. No more timidity. No more coolness. Give me more beauty, more earnestness, more romance, more effort. I hope this collection reminds everyone who encounters it of the sheer delight that fashion can bring us in hard times, and with it, the promise of more joy when the clouds part. Give me more fashion. Give me more hope.” Daniel Roseberry

Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.