Never one to shy away from statement-making designs, Daniel Roseberry’s Spring/Summer 2023 Haute Couture collection for Schiaparelli was a bold interpretation of pride. Titled “Inferno” the designer chose a symbol of pride; the lion to interpret his vision in a way that was sure to get a global reaction.
Ahead of the show Kylie Jenner arrived at the venue wearing one of the key looks from the collection, offering a preview of what was to come. The reality star wore an asymmetrical body-skimming infinite draping dress in black stretch velvet, worn with hyper-realistic lion faux fur and resin handmade head on the sleeve. This same look was worn by Irina Shayk on the runway during the show.
Roseberry’s main literal source of inspiration for this collection was an iconic poem from 1308 by Dante Alighieri. “The Divine Comedy” was a 14,233-line poem divided into three books: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. It is a story of life and beyond.
“What appealed to me in the Inferno wasn’t just the theatrics of Dante’s creation—it was how perfect a metaphor it provided for the torment that every artist or creative person experiences when we sit before the screen or the sketchpad or the dress form, when we have that moment in which we’re shaken by what we don’t know.” Said Roseberry in the show notes. “When I’m stuck, I often take some comfort in thinking of Elsa Schiaparelli: the codes she created, the risks she took, are now the stuff of history and legend, and yet she too must have been uncertain, even scared, when she was inventing them. Her fear enabled her bravery, which sounds counterintuitive but is key to the artistic process. Fear means you’re pushing yourself to make something shocking, something new.” He continued.
The designer captured the spirit of both Elsa and Schiaparelli and Dante Alighieri with a collection that’s bold, and not fearful in any way. It’s for a powerful woman, giving her the confidence to rise above her own insecurities.
Roseberry took “direct inspiration from some of his most arresting images. The leopard, the lion, and the she-wolf—representing lust, pride, and avarice, respectively—find form here in spectacular faux-taxidermy creations, constructed entirely by hand, from foam, resin, and other manmade materials.” These life-like creations tell a story of triumph and confidence.
Other pieces are inspired by the slippery, house-of-mirrors quality of his Inferno: the paillettes that tremble from some of the dresses are actually made from leather-slicked slabs of tin, and the baubles that cover one skirt are made not from fabric but wooden beads. The velvet column dresses’ apparently iridescent shimmer is in fact hand-painted, in pigment that changes colour depending on your perspective, like a butterfly’s wings. Additionally; plastrons have been sculpted in waves of actual mother of pearl, plus one in lemon tree marquetry. And Roseberry’s personal favourite, a giant bust made of copper and patina’d by hand have been labours of love for the past four months.
“Elsa always promised surprise in her work, and over the years, people have learned to come to Schiaparelli in a spirit of wonder; you don’t know what you’re going to encounter here, but you know that the story will be different each time. This season, we concentrated less on deliberate artifice, such as our signature hyperstylized anatomy bijoux, and more on blurring the lines between the real and the unreal.” Said Roseberry.
Much like his predecessor Roseberry offered a play on surrealism, with these lifelike creations, making everyone look twice. Many of the designs are not as they seem, with hidden details, blurring the lines between real and unreal.