1927, when Elsa Schiaparelli created the iconic trompe-l’œil knit sweater. A piece so iconic at the time, it was deemed a ‘masterpiece’ by Vogue. If you know anything about the house, or Elsa herself, you’ll know surrealism is key to the brands identity. Almost 100 years later and that sense of surrealism still knits together the brands DNA. Daniel Roseberry presented his Spring 21 couture and for me, reinvented what couture is and could be. “It’s just something that’s not as polite as couture typically tends to be.”
We all had a glimpse, a little sneak peak, as to what Roseberry was going to be delivering from Kim Kardashian’s couture Christmas look, I hope you know which look I’m referring to. Tweeters were quick to dub her as the Christmas Hulk. but no-one could expect the grandeur that was his Spring 21 look book. Fashion watchers were waiting eagerly for what the house was about to deliver.
The first look to grace us was a development of the look worn by Kim. A moulded bustier in a glossy black finish. Could this be a reference to the ‘idealistic’ body shape we are forever bombarded with? The impressive 8-pack silhouette in a beautifully structured leather was met by a flamboyant, satin bow in Schiaparelli’s signature shocking pink. Perfectly juxtaposing the top half of the look. The bow created a beautiful curve at the models hips, again could this be a reference to the body images we all obsess over? Anyway…the look continued, into a simple satin skirt. A perfect way to open the look-book.
Keeping with the idea that the looks were questioning and redefining body image, the leather bustier transitions into a dress in a rich cognac brown. Styled with boots which exposed, moulded gold toes. Overall the look creates a spectacular nude illusion. It’s almost as if the model isn’t wearing any clothes at all. The accessories in this look also add to the drama. The gold ear earrings with extended ear lobes give the illusion of a very typical drop earring. The bustier bag, again in a rich brown leather. It’s exciting to see Roseberry’s exploration of accessories in couture.
We move onto look 6. A strong look (mind the pun). The dress showcases impressive abs, traps, shoulders and biceps, with over 200,000 beads, it must weigh as heavy as it looks. “I started thinking, is there something about couture that’s sort of misogynistic, that demands or expects that a woman wants to look hyper-feminine and dainty and Bridgerton adjacent?” “It’s not about being a man at all, it’s about being a jacked woman.” The dress is styled again with moulded, gold toe boots. This time, thigh high in a black leather. And oversized padlock earrings which could be a reference to the strength, Roseberry mentioned. An impressive look which could easily make the cover of any magazine.
Padlocks were a continuous theme in the collection as it reappears in the form of a hammered, gold bag. The hammered gold, another house signature. A more relaxed look compared to what we’ve seen from couture before. Could this be Roseberry’s attempt to market to a more youthful couture client, or perhaps its his attempt of disconnecting the previous ideas of what couture is. The parka jacket is crafted with beautiful, delicate pleats and completely offset by the grand hood that drapes over the models back. Once again we see the platform boots with moulded, gold toes. If these boots ever make it to the RTW collection, I will be considering!
With so many exquisite looks, how would you continue this, what is something we’ve never seen before? A headband from which falls and drapes with such elegance, a bolt of shocking pink velvet. The headband with twisted gold rings gives the illusion that the dress is held up by the models earrings. This is surrealism at its best! This look alone confirms why Daniel Roseberry’s Schiaparelli was one the strongest shows from the couture season. With slight adjustment in regards to wearability, this would easily be named best dressed on any red carpet and whoever gets the opportunity to wear this, I hope would make fashion history. Okay, I think you get it, this was my favourite look from the collection.
Further looking at surrealism, the ‘baby and breast’ look is wonderfully mad. I love the religious reference here with the gold halo.
The final look in the collection, for any Schiaparelli fans should look familiar. We have seen this cloud styling before in his Fall 2019 couture collection. Something of a Roseberry signature. Styled with the gold toe boots we’ve seen throughout the collection. Overall Daniel Roseberry presented a beautiful collection that was thought-provoking and inspiring. It is, for me, the strongest collection we’ve seen from him and truly has challenged the ideals associated with couture.