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Redefining The Rules of Haute Couture: Daniel Roseberry Marries Schiaparelli’s Legacy with His Futurism

The Paris Haute Couture Week closed on Thursday after a slew of history-making shows, with collections presented via the flat glare of video. The collections clearly showed an infusion of new blood into couture philosophy as creatives bring their reinvigorated creative process to the table. After the long deprivation of Covid-19 that had everyone strip down to the minimum, fashion houses and customers alike, Haute Couture felt like an exaggeration, a ‘want’ that we can’t ration for, and some even set oddly outside contemporary context. But optimism was present in abundance as was fearless experimentalism. And Schiaparelli’s Haute Couture stands at the bold and powerful intersection of those two, further strengthened by its creative director, Daniel Roseberry’s ingenious vision and grit. After dressing Lady Gaga for the Presidential inauguration and winning lauds, Roseberry is at an all-time high, despite being just under 2 years into his role at Schiaparelli. The sight of Gaga singing the US national anthem for Joe Biden’s appointment as the President of the United States wearing a black fitted jacket, red silk faille ball skirt, and an iconic golden dove brooch will be vividly entrenched in our memory. Roseberry’s appointment as Schiaparelli’s creative director in April 2019 came with a promise for the reformation of this venerated but then-antiquated brand, and what we are seeing right now seems to be just a warm-up of what he is yet to offer at Schiaparelli. 

With this year’s Haute Couture Week show, Roseberry pushed the envelope of Elsa Schiaparelli’s Surrealism and contextualized it in a way that is poignant, haunting, and memorable. His vision of couture is not of a woman draped in hyper-feminine silhouettes in layers of tulle and lace and lugging around a huge train. With blouson leather trousers, super-heroine bustier in glossy black finished with Schiaparelli’s signature shocking pink, and even couture parka with prodigious hoods, Roseberry seems to be on a mission to strip couture of its misogynistic gaze. The intention is an unapologetic exaggeration of the female form, abs, triceps, and biceps and all, with molded leather latex corset (reminiscent of the one worn by Kim Kardashian), to padded, broad shoulders. The offering came with an abundance of striking gold bijoux, everything from tooth pearl earrings, fingernail rings, and of course, the Madonna and Child breastplate, highlighting the “joy of peacocking, the joy of showing off”, says Roseberry. “I want to make an alternative couture house: Here, the fantasy isn’t princess dresses or polite garments; here, the fantasy is within. These are clothes that make you aware of the fact of your body, that make you think about how you move through the world,” adds the designer about his third couture collection.

Whether it is authentic and honest for a white man to claim to take the misogynistic gaze off haute couture that has been the norm for long is up for long debates. However, his creative intelligence and the promising future of Schiaparelli is not.