On seeing Schiaparelli’s spring/summer 2021 haute couture presentation, it is hard to know where the eye should go first. Every shot captured to show off the collection, which was unveiled during Paris Couture Week, is a masterpiece in itself.
This is designer Daniel Roseberry’s third collection for Schiaparelli, and while the house is primarily a fashion label, it is the bold, surrealist jewels and golden accessories that make this one of the most exciting collections of the year.
When Daniel took over as creative director at Schiaparelli in 2019, he said his work would be shaped by big questions such as: “What does art look like? What is identity? How do we dress for the end of the world?” Little did he know that this last apocalyptic question would indeed be a certified vibe a year later.
Schiaparelli earrings from the SS21 haute couture collection, enquire at Schiaparelli
While the world hasn’t ended, it has at times during the pandemic felt as though it might – and, indeed, our day-to-day lives did end in a sense. So how would Schiaparelli dress us for the end of our social world? The answer: dipping in surrealist jewels that reimagine body parts in gold tones lavish enough to soothe the Aztecs.
“I want to make an alternative couture house,” says Daniel. “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.”
Boots are tipped with realistic golden toes. Golden teeth spewing pearls and green faux gems double as embroidery and earrings. Earrings take the form of ears wearing earrings… the lines between body and adornment blur.
A look from theSchiaparelli SS21 haute couture collection, enquire at Schiaparelli
In an even bolder look, Schiaparelli dresses a model in a golden face mask – an entire face-like mask, not our now go-to mouth coverings – pierced with nose, lip and eyebrow rings. This is worn with a full golden breast plate with sparkling nipple rings, and stacks of golden chain necklaces and bangles. In another creation, the breast plate is minimised to cup a single breast, with a golden breastfeeding baby hanging off it.
The collection got a seal of approval from style queen Beyoncé at the Grammys, when she wore a Schiaparelli dress with gloves tipped with golden fingernails. She paired it with and a pair of the chest-grazing earrings that flow from faux black gems to spiralling seashells to hyper-realistic golden fingers to golden teeth bearing black globules.
“As irreverent as all this seems, it actually follows in the legacy of the house and its founder,” says Daniel, referring to Elsa Schiaparelli, who founded her namesake house in 1927. “Elsa was a great technician. She loved fabric, and she especially loved technical innovations. She was the first couturier to use synthetic fabrics; she was the first to incorporate plastic zippers into her work. Her ambition was to experiment, to be disobedient, in all things: fabrication, shape, colour, iconography.”
Schiaparelli earrings from the SS21 haute couture collection worn by Beyoncé to the Grammys 2021, enquire at Schiaparelli
The jewels and adornments that rip through the Schiaparelli haute couture collection are most definitely disobedient, and this type of rebellious, wild artistic expression is just the sort of escapism what we need right now, even if the world isn’t ending.