“It is the poet’s final wonder” – this is how Giambattista Marino debuted in a remote Baroque Seventeenth century, establishing the goal of a profession that was born only out of a profound vocation. And now, looking today at the creativity of Daniel Roseberry, working alongside the legendary house Schiaparelli, the impression is that of the same era of spectacularity, of willingness to entertain, to upset and not to sell, which is finally rising from the ashes of a fashion commercialized, often enslaved by an aesthetically correct world where only the usable is acceptable.
“A collection that is as emotionally unbridled as falling in love. A tribute to romance, to excess, to dreams. Is there anything more urgent today than to dream big? To dream of a better world? To grab every piece of beauty with both hands?” Roseberry has ruled. And it is thanks to the collection’s intoxication of euphoria that the Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2021 fills our hearts, a lost beauty that is needed more than ever and that our eyes seem to drink greedily.
Guiding the inspiration of the designer is the constant desire to update the past without being nostalgic: as fundamental as the respect for its heritage, it must not become constrictive and limiting, but instead offer a basic imaginary on which to build a new aesthetic. With the Matador collection, Roseberry evokes the extreme silhouettes of Madame Elsa, the perfect colours of Christian Lacroix, takes inspiration from the art of Ingres (especially his notorious fluidity in painting the smooth curves of the body). There’s even some Manet and his talent in representing human truths. And what is truer today than an urgent need to be amazed?
Three are the chapters in which the creative director articulates his narrative. The first is a tribute to the tailoring of the Maison and the skill of Elsa Schiaparelli in building jackets. The structure is oversized and majestic, with large barrel sleeves and slender busts, where the combination of cut and decoration reaches an absolute balance. Denim replaces classic wool, and vintage remnants from the archives are assembled to build a garment that condenses past and present, with metallic breasts and black tassels that play on a concept of nudity and enhancement of the body. A hint of the gluteus is shown and an uncovered back in lamé leather decorates the derrière. There is also Jean Cocteau, who appears in the creation of black crepe wool with curved sleeves, a flower of embroidery of Lesage silk roses in a shell that resembles a jacket made for Schiaparelli in 1937.
(left) Jean Cocteau’s Schiaparelli Coat, (right) Schiaparelli AW21
The story continues with a focus on jewels and their interpretation of the continuation of the body. The jewel is not added, it is not intended as an accessory, but is an extension of the physicality. A golden rosette eludes the classic bustier to propose a different vision of femininity, where the nipple is a bud. Emblematic is the filigree collier that branches off into the capillaries of the lungs, as if it were a celebration of our breath that was so endangered during these last two years of pandemic. The nose and belly, lips and ears are cast in gold or made of ceramic, the bijoux become embroidery and minaudiere, occupying and conquering a new space in which the body can expand.
It concludes with the chapter dedicated to colour. A black dogmatic colour counterbalances the vibrancy of the salmon pink and cornflower, with orange terracotta, lunar silver, a crisp Renaissance blue and milky white set as primary shades of the brand. Each tone is carefully decided and never mentioned, there is no trace of nuance but the color itself, which is clear and absolute, does not mix or blend with others, limiting the variety in favour of a chromatic precision that enhances every single shade of the collection.
In a press release to coincide with the launch of the collection, Roseberry said the following, ‘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.’
The Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2021 collection is this and much more. The long-awaited return to a world of fashion that puts creation and originality above all, it’s extroverted, loud, and it’s imagination is not constrained, and the aesthetics have a right to exist even just for aesthetic purposes, cultivating a lust that restores us from a famine of beauty.
Words By Tommaso Donati, Graphic By Millie Pollok