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

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