Thursday, 13 January 2022

Postmodern Dance at London's Tate: Set and Reset by Trisha Brown

Trish Oesterling, Carolyn Lucas, David Thomson, Gregory Lara in Set and Reset (1983). Photo © Mark Hanauer 1993. Cover picture: Candoco Dance Company, Set and Reset/Reset. Photography by Camilla Greenwell, 2021.

This month, London's Tate Modern will launch a reconceived version of Trisha Brown’s ground-breaking 1983 postmodern dance Set and Reset with the original music by Laurie Anderson and stage-set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg. In March, the renowned Candoco Dance Company and Rambert will form part of the installation, Isabella Lancellotti reports

Set and Reset, photographed by Eric Boudet 2011
TRISHA Brown was one of the most influential dancers and choreographers of her generation. Celebrated for her artistic experimentalism and collaboration with other artists, musicians and designers in 1960s New York, Brown pioneered a unique process of ‘memorised improvisation’. 

Set and Reset marked an important shift in Brown’s practice where her fluid yet idiosyncratic dance style was developed into a multi-layered choreographic structure. Comprising choreography by Brown, soundtrack by Laurie Anderson, stage-set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg and lighting by Beverly Emmons, Set and Reset first premiered in 1983 and marked a pivotal moment in dance and art history. 

The display at Tate Modern will feature elements from the staging, as well as documentation of the performance, and rarely seen videotapes that show Brown building and rehearsing the choreography with her dancers. The stage-set, costumes, soundtrack and lighting, devised by Brown and her collaborators, will join Tate’s collection as an installation. This acquisition opens up new possibilities for how museums can collect and represent dance as it intersects with visual art.

With choreography by Brown, a soundtrack by Laurie Anderson and stage-set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg Set and Reset marked a pivotal moment in dance and art history

From 12–14 March 2022, the London-based dance company Rambert will perform Set and Reset within the installation at Tate Modern, marking the first time that dancers outside of the Trisha Brown Dance Company have been allowed to perform the 1983 iteration of the work. Alongside the original score, lighting, sets and costumes, Rambert will showcase the fluid and unpredictable style of the original choreography. The following week, from 19–21 March 2022, Candoco Dance Company will perform Set and Reset/Reset, a radical reconstruction of Brown’s original choreography fused with the dancers’ own impulses and instincts. 

Candoco Dance Company, Set and Reset, Reset II,
Photograhed by Camilla Green well 2021. 
As a contemporary dance company, Candoco seeks to expand and challenge the perceptions of what dance can be. Through its company of disabled and non-disabled dancers Candoco continually pushes the boundaries of dance, creating distinctive performances and far-reaching learning experiences. 

A seminal work in its repertoire, Set and Reset/Reset has been performed by the company to audiences across the world for more than ten years.

In collaboration with Trisha Brown Dance Company, Tate will also present Set and Reset/Unset, a series of informal performances that will provide a rare insight into the core principles and processes that Brown used to create her choreography. 

Taking place within the installation across multiple dates between March and August 2022, these free events will build upon Trisha Brown’s own history of combining spoken-word with movement and delivering lectures about her process while her dancers performed on stage.

The display and performances of Set and Reset form part of Tate’s plan to exhibit, collect and research live art and performance. 

Set and Reset by Trisha Brown is at Tate Modern from 24 January ~ 4 September 2022 and will be open daily 10.00~18.00, performances various. Admission free during public opening hours, tickets required for performances. For information call +44(0)20 7887 8888 or visit tate.org.uk.  


Subscribe to support our independent and original journalism, photography, artwork and film.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

A New Chanel Exhibition Opens at the National Gallery of Victoria

Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, circa 1930s, photograph by André Kertész. Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine. Photo © Ministère de la Culture – Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / André Kertész. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria

A major new exhibition about Gabrielle Chanel has opened at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. This is the first show in Australia about the renowned French designer and her contribution to 20th century fashion. More than 230 garments, accessories and jewellery are on display, drawn from major public and private collections, reports Antonio Visconti 

Anne Sainte-Marie in a Chanel suit,
photograph by Henry Clarke,
published in Vogue US,1955, 
retouched by ARCP. Paris Musées
© Henry Clarke, Paris Musées /
Palais Galliera / ADAGP. 
Copyright Agency, 2021

ONE of the most influential designers of the twentieth century, Gabrielle Chanel introduced a sense of modernity into fashion that is still relevant today. Chanel began to reform women’s wardrobes by creating a new way of dressing, many pieces inspired by men's clothing. Her designs focused on comfort and function, a complete departure from the tight corsets and heavy skirts of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. 

Chanel was also responding to the zeitgeist of the first decades of the 20th century when woman were advocating for greater social and economic independence. Gabrielle Chanel herself had escaped an extremely impoverished and provincial childhood to create a career that would lead to the highest echelons of both society and fashion.

"There is no bigger name in twentieth century fashion design than Gabrielle Chanel. Her originality, timelessness and elegance forged a radically modern vision of fashion and a singular style," says Tony Ellwood, director of the National Gallery of Victoria. "Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto is expansive, visually sumptuous and reveals the achievements and enduring legacy of the extraordinary French fashion designer."

This exhibition was first presented in Paris last year, created by the Palais Galliera, with loans from the Direction du Patrimoine de Chanel, the fashion house's heritage department. There are also loans from major public museums and private collections and designs from the NGV's own collection. This includes recent acquisitions such as a white lace evening dress, from Spring/Summer 1933 and a shirred red-silk velvet and marabou-lined evening cape from 1924–26.

"There is no bigger name in 20th century fashion than Gabrielle Chanel. Her originality, timelessness and elegance forged a radically modern vision."


Installation view of Gabrielle Chanel
at NGV International, Melbourne
Photo: Sean Fennessy.
Chanel’s impact on the development of women's wear throughout the 20th century, the role of her designs in contemporary culture and her remarkable career are traced through more than 100 garments, organised both chronologically and thematically. 

The clothes are combined with Chanel's other innovative creations including perfume, jewellery and accessory designs. Some of the most iconic pieces include black dresses, considered very modern tat the time, lace gowns, tailored wool jersey and tweed suits, beaded gowns and striking costume jewellery. 

Chanel opened her first fashion boutique in Deauville in 1912. Six years later she was able to open her couture house at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris in 1918 (where the fashion house's headquarters are still located). Her designs were all about a minimalist kind of luxury that was free of heavy decoration and tailored so women could be both active and comfortable. She pioneered the use of jersey and tweed, drawing inspiration from menswear and sportswear, introduced the ‘little black dress’ and the well-cut suit as liberating ways for women to dress. 

"From the beginning of her career, in the early years of the 20th century, right up to her death in 1971, Gabrielle Chanel defied the prevailing fashions of her time," comments Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera. "Chanel’s style was based on the principles of comfort and respect for the female anatomy, but also on the details and chic elegance of her designs.

"Chanel avoided unnecessary decoration, and her choice of colors, materials and techniques was always judicious and bold, with an emphasis on balance and a harmonious overall effect. Her garments had a sophisticated restraint that acted as a contrast to the opulence of her jewellery, which was inspired by ancient or distant civilizations and also her way of wearing an abundance of it."

Chanel's designs offered a minimalist luxury that was free of heavy decoration and well-cut so women could be active and feel comfortable 

Installation view of Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto
at NGV International, Melbourne. 
Photo: Sean Fennessy

The clothes and accessories in the NGV exhibition date from 1910 to 1971 and show how Chanel's brought about changes in what women wear. 

"All of her life, Gabrielle Chanel was at the crossroads of fashion and the artistic avant-garde," explains Bruno Pavlovsky,  president of  Chanel Fashion. 

"By placing her own needs, her own desires and her own lifestyle at the heart of her creative work, she was a pioneer in the advancement of women and their place in society. 

"Right from the beginning, in 1910, her take on fashion became a manifesto for liberating women’s bodies from the physical constraints of the prevailing fashions, giving women the freedom at last to wear clothes in which they could move about easily, whether in sports or at work ~ clothes in which a woman could now feel truly independent. "

Highlights of the exhibition include rare examples of Chanel’s early daywear and her wool jersey suits, which marked a radical departure from the elaborate fashions of the Belle Epoque and Edwardian periods in France and England. Equally captivating are the gowns associated with Chanel’s so-called ‘romantic’ period in the 1930s. Dedicated sections of the exhibition showcase Chanel’s love and use of floral motifs, printed as textiles or as appliqued florets, and her lace eveningwear.

"All of her life, Gabrielle Chanel was at the crossroads of fashion and the artistic avant-garde."


Behind the scenes: garments being prepared
for the Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto
exhibition at the NGV International.
Photo: Eddie Jim
Chanel’s innovations also included the  perfume, Chanel N°5, created in 1921, cosmetics and highly decorative costume jewellery that combined precious and semi-precious materials. 

The exhibition explores the design motifs Chanel introduced in the 1950s, including the quilted 2.55 bag and two-tone sling back that remain closely associated with Chanel as Parisian fashion house.

A further highlight of the exhibition is a display of iconic Chanel suits. Debuted by Chanel in the 1910s and reintroduced after the re-opening of her haute couture house in 1954, the two and three- piece suits, in lightweight woven tweed or wool bouclé, remains a feature of the house’s collections to this day. 

In the latter part of her career, Chanel's suits were worn by high profile women such as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. Even earlier, actresses such as Marlene Dietrich, and Lauren Bacall had begun to wear her designs. Eventually, the Chanel suit became a symbol of sophistication and one of the most identifiable designs of the label. Today, the suits are still defined by their exquisite tailoring allowing a great freedom of movement, the signature double "C" gilt buttons and the contrasting braiding along the cuffs and lapels.

Timeline of key events in Gabrielle Chanel's life and career:

‘Coco’ Chanel at the Ritz Hotel
(drawings by Christian Bérardand 
Jean Cocteau),1937, photograph
by François Kollar. Médiathèque de
l’architecture et du patrimoine.
© Jean Cocteau / ADAGP. 
Copyright Agency, 2021.
Photo © Ministère de la Culture
Médiathèque de l’architecture et du
patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais
/ François Kollar. 
Courtesy of the 
National Gallery of Victoria


1883 ~ Gabrielle Chanel is born at the charity hospital in Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), on 19 August.

1903 ~ She begins working as an assistant, alongside her aunt Adrienne, in a draper’s shop in Moulins (Allier).

1909 ~ Chanel opens a milliner’s shop at 160, boulevard Malesherbes in Paris, with the assistance of experienced milliner Lucienne Rabaté.

1910 ~ The millinery boutique ‘Chanel – Modes’ opens in Paris at 21, rue Cambon.

1912 ~ Chanel opens another milliner’s shop in Deauville. She soon branches out, adding a sportswear range, including sailor-collar tops, jackets and blouses.

1915 ~ During the war, Chanel opens her first couture house, in Biarritz, in a townhouse located opposite the casino. At the time, the Basque Coast attracts a rich cosmopolitan clientele.

1916 ~ Gabrielle Chanel creates a collection of garments in knitted jersey, sourced from Rodier.

1918 ~ Gabrielle Chanel opens a couture house at 31, rue Cambon in Paris, the iconic address that will forever be associated with her name.

1921 ~ The perfume Chanel N°5 is created in Grasse with Ernest Beaux, a Russian-born French perfumer.

1923 ~ Chanel buys the building at 29, rue Cambon. A Chanel boutique opens in Cannes.

1924 ~ Chanel meets Pierre and Paul Wertheimer. On 4 April, they enter into a partnership and form the Société des Parfums Chanel. Chanel creates her first makeup range. In the same year, Chanel opens a costume jewellery department in her Paris couture house. The jewellery is made by Comte Étienne de Beaumont. She designs the costumes for the ballet Le Train Bleu, which has a libretto by Jean Cocteau.

1926 ~ Chanel’s ‘little black dress’ is nicknamed the ‘Ford’ dress by Vogue US.

1927 ~ A Chanel fashion house opens in London. The perfume Cuir de Russie is launched. Launch of the first Chanel skincare range, which includes 15 products.

1928 ~ Chanel opens a textile factory in Asnières-sur-Seine, near Paris, under the brand name Tissus Chanel, incorporating Tricots Chanel. The perfume Bois des Îles is launched.

1931 ~ Chanel signs a contract worth a million dollars a year with American film producer Samuel Goldwyn. She is contracted to create costumes for his Hollywood films.

1932 ~ Launch of the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ fine jewellery collection. It is exhibited from 7~19 November at Chanel’s apartment at 29, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.

1936 ~ During a general strike in France, Chanel workers go on strike and occupy the rue Cambon premises.

1939 ~ When France declares war, the Maison Chanel closes its doors. The weavers are called up and the Tissus Chanel factory is forced to close; but the boutique selling perfumes and accessories (31, rue Cambon) remains open throughout the war.

1944 ~ Gabrielle Chanel is arrested at the Ritz by the French Forces of the Interior because of her relationship with a German officer, Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage. She is released after a brief interrogation. For the next ten years, Chanel lives away from the world of fashion, dividing her time between Lausanne, Paris, and La Pausa (her villa on the French Côte d’Azur), with trips to Italy and the USA.

Gabrielle Chanel, photograph by Henry Clarke,
published in Vogue France, 1954.
Paris Musées. © Henry Clarke, 
Paris Musées /Palais Galliera/ADAGP. 
Copyright Agency, 2021
1952 ~ On 7 April, Life magazine interviews Marilyn Monroe, who responds to the question ‘What do you wear to bed?’ with the answer ‘I only wear Chanel N°5.’

1953 ~ The couture house reopens after fourteen years.

1954 ~ Chanel unveils her new couture collection on 5 February. She is seventy-one years old.

1955 ~ In February, Chanel creates a quilted lamb’s leather handbag with a chain shoulder strap, and names it the 2.55 bag.

1957 ~ The first two-tone shoe is produced by Chanel in collaboration with the shoemaker Massaro. Chanel receives the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, an award created by American businessman Stanley Marcus, proprietor of luxury store Neiman Marcus in Dallas. Chanel is honoured as ‘the most influential female designer of the 20th century’.

1961 ~ Chanel creates the costumes worn by French actress Delphine Seyrig in Alain Resnais’s film Last Year in Marienbad.

1963 ~ On 22 November, the day that US president John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Jackie Kennedy wears a pink Chanel suit from the Autumn–Winter 1961 collection.

1969 ~ On 18 December, the musical Coco opens at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York. Katharine Hepburn plays the role of Gabrielle Chanel.

1971 ~ On 10 January, Gabrielle Chanel dies in Paris, in her suite at the Ritz. She is buried in Bois-de-Vaux Cemetery, in Lausanne.

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto is on at the NGV International, Melbourne, from 4 December 2021 ~ 25 April 2022. 

Subscribe to support our independent and original journalism, photography, artwork and film.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Travel: The Deep Mountains and Mysterious Valleys of Tokyo’s Nezu Museum

Mountain Stream in Autumn by Suzuki Kiitsu, Edo Period, 19th century. Cover picture: Kemari, Japanese Football Game under Cherry Blossom, Moyoyama Period, 17th century. Both at the Nezu Museum, Tokyo.
A nimble row of bamboo grows between the street and the grounds of the Nezu Museum in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo. The softly murmuring greenery gently ushers you along the side of the museum, beneath its overarching eaves, to the entrance, writes Olivia Meehan 

Bamboo lines the entrance to the museum in Tokyo,
designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma
IN the winter months, when there is snowfall in the capital, masses of snow slide off the roof to line the ground at the bottom of this bamboo, creating the illusion of a white-peaked mountain range on the path. 

There are many such transporting and transient scenes to be found at the Nezu Museum and Garden, located on the private estate of the Nezu family and housing the extraordinary collection of pre-modern East Asian treasures amassed by businessman and philanthropist Nezu Kaichirō (1860-1940). 

The original house, built in 1906, was destroyed in an air raid in 1945. Following successive reconstructions over the decades, the decision was made to undertake a large scale renovation to restore Nezu’s vision. The renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma redesigned the museum building with elements found in traditional Japanese residential architecture and a contemporary finish. It reopened in 2009. 

On the private estate of the Nezu family, the museum houses an extraordinary collection of pre-modern East Asian treasures 

Light floods into the foyer of the museum 
created by Kengo Kuma
The foyer opens to full length windows overlooking the garden, a modern take on the traditional Japanese idea of creating an invisible threshold from the inside to outside world. 

Buddhist sculptural pieces are displayed facing inwards: they cast a friendly eye on visitors whose gaze naturally drifts from the garden inside. 

Though not specifically a house museum, the atmosphere here has the intimate characteristics of a private home. 

I have a deep interest in museums that were once someone’s home, especially those with gardens; however small. From Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, England to the Alvar Aalto House/Studio in Helsinki, to the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris, I seek them out for the intimacy and personality sometimes missing from large, formal museum spaces.  

Though not specifically a house museum, the atmosphere here has the intimate characteristics of a private home

Autumn foliage at Tetsuta, ink and colour on gold-foil
paper, one of a pair of screens. 
Japan, Edo Period,17th century. 
Nezu Museum
There are over 7,400 objects in the Nezu collection, many of which are classified as Important Cultural Property or national treasure. In some galleries, the LED light fittings are programmed and adjusted to resemble sunrise; in others, to imitate the diffused light from a paper lantern. 

These carefully considered aspects of display serve to protect the objects from harsh, possibly damaging light, and generate a gentle, calm atmosphere. Each object is also afforded a luxurious amount of room, making it easier to become absorbed in the ritual of close observation. We might be invited to contemplate a small but robust 16th century, jewel-shaped ceramic incense container. 

Or to behold the pair of 19th century, six-fold screens created by Suzuki Kiitsu: Mountain Streams in Summer and Autumn  ~ so modern and bright the water appears to flow across and off the panels. At each turn, I feel as if I am activating Kuma’s architectural vision of designing a space at one with the landscape, not imposed upon it. This is a building that works in harmony with its surroundings. 

There are over 7,400 objects in the Nezu collection, many classified as national treasures

Buddhist statue engulfed by the greenery
of the Nezu Museum's gardens in Tokyo
Stepping into the garden offers a seamless continuum of this experience. As I think about living with objects and nature, I recall the brilliant short film made by husband and wife design team Charles and Ray Eames in 1955: House: After Five Years of Living.
 
Composed entirely of 35mm slides, the film details their modernist family home in the Californian neighbourhood of Pacific Palisades. Intersecting with the building itself are objects and artefacts; table settings and images of nature such as pine needles or the silhouette of a eucalyptus tree. Just like Kuma’s approach, emphasis is placed on texture and warmth coupled with steel, and cool stone.

The garden of the Nezu Museum comprises a series of panoramic views and four types of tea-houses framed by the delicate architecture of maple trees and other foliage. The variant greens are pleasantly overwhelming, an irresistible and gentle embrace as you wander the winding pathways of this vast and multifaceted estate occupying 17,000 square metres of metropolitan Tokyo. 

The initial layout reflected the shinzan-yūkoku garden style, translated as “deep mountains and mysterious valleys”, and over the years it has been carefully restored to reflect the tastes of Nezu. 

The garden of the Nezu Museum has panoramic views and tea-houses framed by maple trees and other foliage

Mountain Stream in Summer by Suzuki Kiitsu
Japan, Edio Period, 19th century
Ink and colour on gold-foil paper
Nezu Museum
The variation and life of a mountainside appears in small and delicate ways: pruned hedges, rocks covered in moss. Glimpses of the pond through a veil of evergreen trees might reveal a momentary sparkle of sun glitter or the reflection of clouds. 

In the spirit of the ritual of tea drinking, the museum’s cafe, also designed by Kuma, sits at the end of a stone path lined with a low, snaking hedge of pink azalea. 

I have a long list of favourite museum cafés. This one is in the top tier. A glass tea-house nestled amongst the trees, it serves a deliciously refreshing matcha. 

Drinking fragrant 
new tea from Uji 
I can scoop up the essence 
and understand 
how the ancients came to adore it. 

~ Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) 

The Nezu Museum is a cultural retreat offering restorative experiences through art, objects and its captivating garden. 

 The Nezu Museum is located at Chome-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan and is open from 10am~5pm from Tuesday ~ Sunday.

Subscribe to support our independent and original journalism, photography, artwork and film.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

New Label Laruicci Mixes the Soigné and the Singular in its Fourth Ready-to-Wear Paris Collection

Backstage at the Laruicci SS22 show in Paris. A model puts on earrings designed by Lauren Ruicci

A dash of zest and eclecticism were brought to Paris with Laruicci's Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Although many designers presented their collections digitally during fashion week, the label had an ebullient physical runway show held at a handsome 19th-century industrial building, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photography by Elli Ioannou  

Models wearing the new SS22 
collection backstage in Paris
LAUREN Ruicci's jewellery, and the clothing label she recently founded, mix her American chutzpah with the sleek, well-made lines of her training in Italy. When she launched the first collection in 2019 in Paris, she appointed the talented and accomplished Cem Cinar as creative director of the ready-to-wear collections. 

The Turkish designer trained in Paris at ESMOD before an internship at Rick Owens and then a long stint working at Y/project. He has a true multicultural background. While he grew up in the Netherlands, he has also lived in Japan and has made Paris his home. 

Cem Cinar brings a rigorous eye to designing Laruicci  but still maintains a playful edge. The new Spring/Summer 2022 collection was inspired by Noughties dance clubs and the Nineties rave scene. 

Originally, Lauren Ruicci launched her own jewellery brand in 2009 which is handmade in her New York City studio. Meanwhile the ready-to-wear clothing collections have headquarters in Paris. 

For both the clothing and jewellery lines, Ruicci says she likes to add an outré punk aesthetic inspired by places like Tokyo Bars, Berlin nightclubs, and LA house parties. 

The new Spring/Summer 2022 collection was inspired by Noughties dance clubs and the Nineties rave scene

A fluid and glimmering gold gown
was a highlight of the 
runway show
Ruicci grew up in Michigan, in Farmington Hills, near Detroit. But she went on to study in Italy at the Academia Italiana and later at Polimoda in Florence. Then she worked as an assistant at Italian Vogue for editor and stylist Patti Wilson, before she started her own brand. 

The SS22 show was held at the Bastille Design Centre (its open staircase forming part of the runway) located in a triangle formed by the Place de la Bastille, the Place de la République and the Place des Vosges.

The collection had a mix of pieces inspired by glam club culture along with well-tailored more classic looks with an avant-garde edge. Highlights included a padded, gleaming dress with wings at the back, a long gown with a creamy, draped Grecian top and full A-line skirt and a shimmering, fluid gold evening dress with the neckline slashed to the waist.

Standouts for daywear were a caped sage-green dress buttoned at the front and a gray pants suit worn with imposing, square buckles of pearls. The striking  and singular designs of both the jewellery and clothes design give the young clothing label a cohesive direction for the future.

Scroll down or tap pictures for a full-screen slideshow of the Laruicci SS22 highlights












































































Subscribe to support our independent and original journalism, photography, artwork and film.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Schiaparelli's Surrealist Summer in Paris

Inspired by a portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli with a cloche hat, Daniel Roseberry's new Spring/Summer 2022 collection is inspired by the Italian founder.
After just two years at the helm of Schiaparelli, Daniel Roseberry has made the storied French fashion house sought-after once again, with celebrities from Beyonce to Bella Hadid keen to wear his avant-garde creations. His gilded Surrealist bijoux including blue enamelled eyes, full golden lips and rippling resin torsos have also captured the popular imagination wearied by big-brand commercial luxury, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento

Surrealist blue denim with built in 
conical bustier after Gaultier's corsets
for Madonna
THE American designer Daniel Roseberry took the helm of Schiaparelli as creative director in April 2019, leaving New York to head the historic atelier at 21 Place Vendôme in Paris. 

Yet just two years later, his whimsy and belief in Elsa Schiaparelli's original avant-garde ethos, has not only captured the imagination of the fashion beau monde but also red-carpet stalwarts from Lady Gaga and Adele to Beyonce and Bella Hadid. 

Even rapper Cardi B wore a Schiaparelli gilded breastplate, a tweed coat and gold headpiece to stroll the streets of Paris during fashion week. 

This season, the prêt-à-porter collection includes jackets with golden nipples, inflatable coats with air valves and Dali's rib-cage gown reimagined as a knitted, white body-hugging dress. Beyond the beautiful tailoring, are the gilded, rippling breastplates worn like a vest underneath jackets and tops.

Schiaparelli has also just launched a shop in New York's Bergdorf Goodman department store which will allow the label's novel aesthetic to be more widely diffused. Roseberry believes the success of his Schiaparelli collections are due to the desire for more unique, personable designs that are quite different from the commercialized and conservative luxury of big-brand fashion houses. 

Daniel Roseberry's belief in Schiaparelli's avant-garde ethos has captured not only the imagination of the fashion beau monde but also red-carpet stalwarts

Go big or go home, Daniel
Roseberry's gilded bijoux with
eyes, lips and ears
 The designer has kept Elsa Schiaparelli's spirit of experimentalism alive. She began her career in an era bubbling with artistic revolution in the 1920s and 30s. She collaborated with groundbreaking artists including Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, Rene Magritte and Alberto Giacometti.

Roseberry's new Schiaparelli collection brings the Surrealist motifs from his haute couture designs to ready-to-wear. The golden ears, enamelled blue eyes, gilded lips and noses embellish jewellery, leather bags as well as jackets and jeans. Even denim shirts have twirled cone-shaped bodices finished with a tassle. 

Called the Surrealist’s Holiday, Roseberry began designing this collection by imagining what Elsa Schiaparelli would wear as a Parisian working in the city and also what her holiday garb would entail. 

"I was thinking of the woman behind this Maison: Elsa Schiaparelli, who gave this house not only its name, but its identity," he explains. "The term 'psycho chic' may not have existed in Elsa's time ~ nor, admittedly, now  ~ and yet it’s how I always explain her and her vision to myself: this was a woman fascinated by the dawning of the technological age, of advances in fabric and engineering, of the avant-garde in film and art. 

"She was a patron of the arts, and an artist herself, but she was also a scientist of a kind, someone who celebrated innovation and progress: creative, social, cultural. And yet who was she at home, or on holiday? Who was she when she stepped off the stage, when she was alone, away from the glittering Parisian demi-monde?"

Elsa Schiaparelli was a patron of the arts, and an artist herself, but she was also like a scientist and she celebrated innovation of all kinds

A beautifully draped
Shocking Pink with swirls 
of fabric breasts
Daniel Roseberry envisioned dressing the urban Schiaparelli in Surrealist jewellery and beautifully-cut fabric bodices mixed with Seventies style French motifs using classic horse-bit closures for the hardware. He even includes a miniskirt and jacket in white denim finished with patent leather while floral prints are transformed into glimmering sequined pantsuits. Heavily embroidered with Schiap Hotel are long, luxuriously-thick bathrobes to loll about in at home.

The Texan's designs for what Elsa would would wear on her days off come with a dash of David Lynch: "These are not just holiday clothes for a physical destination, but for a state of mind as well," the designer says. "They’re pieces for a literal escape, but also an escape from reality, a wardrobe for a Lynchian landscape, where the imagination can roam without boundaries." 

He has also injected a note of fantasy into the new swimwear collection (a first for the label), with striped-knit bathing suits in hand-made cotton, fluid, black silk dresses, belted caftans made of tropical silk viscose and red-and-white stripes that evoke summer beach umbrellas on the Mediterranean coast. 

All the looks have updated accessories, including large matte-gold earrings and necklaces, snakeskin shoulder bags with umbrella stripes and another iteration of the 'Secret" bag with its signature padlock. 

"So who is City Elsa and Seaside Elsa?" asks Roseberry. "She’s refined but barbaric. Chic but a little vulgar. Conservative but uninhibited. Tailored but also relaxed. Private but also performative. These dualities were what made Elsa who she was. She’s irreducible, and because of that, inimitable." 

And one could say that of Daniel Roseberry himself as he remakes Schiaparelli, keeping Elsa's exuberant innovation while adapting her ideals to our own time.

Tap play to watch Daniel Roseberry shooting the new Schiaparelli collection in Paris

Scroll down to see highlights from the show or tap for a full-screen slideshow








































Subscribe to support our independent and original journalism, photography, artwork and film.