Schiaparelli’s spring-summer 2022 haute couture transcends the natural

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Italian fashion house Schiaparelli has always been praised for its avant-garde approach to fashion; in 2022, this perspective remains the same. Julia Fox and Kanye West embodied the brand’s legacy recently during Paris Fashion Week, appearing at the Italian designer’s show in custom Schiaparelli Canadian tuxedos — a full denim ensemble. In an interview with Vogue, Fox claimed, “I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone in terms of how I dress.”

This sentiment is exactly what current creative director Daniel Roseberry set out to exemplify in Schiaparelli’s spring-summer 2022 haute couture show; he reimagines past avant-garde looks and crafts a collection that rewrites the conformity of contemporary experimental haute couture. 

Proclaimed as “An Age of Discipline,” the collection takes inspiration from the deconstruction of norms felt within pandemic realities. In the show notes, the creative director questioned: “What does fashion mean in flux? What is avant-garde in a society that continually redefines it?” The 32-look collection answers this question by, according to Roseberry, “a return to the basics in a move towards the elemental.” 

Throughout the show at the Petit Palais in Paris, Roseberry pays homage to Schiaparelli’s creator, Elsa Schiaparelli through black and white palatial-themed looks with hints of royal jewels and heavenly iconography. Reconstructing Schiaparelli’s eye for the avant-garde is a diss to critics quick to denounce references in fashion. It felt as though Roseberry wanted to relish in how cyclical fashion has become —  especially how the trend has flourished in a more dystopian-feeling world — in digging up archival inspiration through otherworldly imagery.

Roseberry mixes 1920s silhouettes with larger-than-life hats and structured bodices. The third look of the third collection features a black and white tuxedo-style blazer and Bermuda shorts, with the overly structured blazer bolstering a black velvet hood. Many of the collection’s looks featured black pantyhose as another nod to 1920s fashion. 

Schiaparelli’s spring-summer collection also utilized many triangular-shaped looks that aided the collection’s prestige. In Renaissance paintings, pyramid theory was used to create stability; Roseberry’s collection utilizes this theory, creating looks that are composed of a heavier top than bottom or vice versa. This added to the overall dedication of ingenuity in the lookbook.

One piece recreated Madonna’s conical bra. The model wore a black leather bustier featuring the iconic conical bra embellished with gold and paired with a black velvet skirt with a slit. Roseberry adorned the look with a crown that looked similar to that of the Virgin Mary, exemplifying the creative director’s blend of the past and present. This combination of heavenly and earthly pieces perfectly aligned with his inspiration from surrealism and the twenties. 

Revisiting the fashion house’s roots and repurposing their brand was exquisitely impressive. Elsa Schiaparelli was known to have a keen interest in astrology, and Roseberry captured this by recreating one of her most iconic pieces — the “Apollo of Versailles” jacket.

While the collection of looks often referenced past feats in fashion history, it triumphed in blending the likeness of the past with new, organic silhouettes. Sharp edges defined a multitude of dresses; others featured circular brass rings and planetary imagery. Roseberry adorned  basic-colored silhouettes with clashing textures and shapes, and the craftsmanship involved is extraordinary. For example, the 26th look features a sleeveless black dress sprinkled with gaudy Swarovski rhinestone jewels.  

In the process of designing the collection, Roseberry cites an epiphany that he had about his profession:  “I design in order to make people feel something.” In viewing Schiaparelli’s spring-summer 2022 haute couture collection, it is uncomfortable not to feel bewildered and drawn to its otherworldly imagery and striking silhouettes. Through balancing the past and present, Roseberry creates a unique catalog that demonstrates the possibilities of modern-day couture. 

Bringing back Schiaparelli’s original designs brought the Italian fashion house back to its roots, crafting looks sure to be recreated and reinspired for years to come  – finally, the fashion hourglass gets reset.

Kaitlin Clapinski covers fashion. Contact her at [email protected].