It was in 2019 that Daniel Roseberry took over Schiaparelli. Since then, he has managed to capture the zeitgeist with every collection. In the spirit of Elsa Schiaparelli, who always mingled with contemporary artists like Salvador Dali or Man Ray to create designs that, to this day, are the epitome of the crossover between fashion and surrealism.
"The Matador", the Texan designer's fourth couture collection, is an allusion to his own inner struggle to rebel against nostalgia and the simple joys of beauty. Turns out that sometimes you have to rebel against exactly what you want in order to really understand it.
“For two years, I’ve been saying that I didn’t care about nostalgia. This season, though, it’s where it all started. I found myself wondering, again and again: What if you combined a little Manet; a little Lacroix; a little 1980s; a little 1880s; a little matador; a little space alien; a little Ingres; a little shimmer; a lot of color? Could I do it? And what would it look like?” he shared.
In contrast to past collections, especially Couture Spring 2021, one can feel more romance and a softer kind of femininity. The last collection represented a strong woman, visually illustrated by breast plates with defined abs, boots with thick soles and traces of athleisure. Couture Spring 2021 was sporty and urban with some voluminous shimmering gowns making an appearance in-between. For Fall/Winter 2021/2022, Daniel Roseberry only wanted to concentrate on one very different thing – pure, uncompromising beauty as the essence of couture.
Matador Couture at Schiaparelli means short jackets and long horns. The participants of the traditional, highly debated bullfight come to sartorial life in Roseberry’s creations. The cut of the white jacket with black embroidery, pearl trim and silk tassels with a high-necked round collar is made all the more effective by the tulle skirt and hat worn with it. The silhouette is enhanced and leads to a balanced mix between femininity and determination. The feminine matador look duels with the black, off-the-shoulder gown from which seamless gold-embellished, twisted horns shoot upwards. Schiaparelli's signature embellishment on the chest resembles eyes, creating the perfect illusion of a bull.
Each of the house's collections, especially couture, takes its cue from pre-existing codes and looks. This season, too, there is an homage to Elsa Schiaparelli's rich corpus of work. The first look, a patchwork of vintage peau de soie from the house's archive, allows patterns from the 1930s to enter into a textile conversation. The wide, structured sleeves as well as the fit around the waist leave no doubt that this is tailoring straight from the ateliers of 21, place Vendôme. It is hardly surprising that Schiaparelli does not offer a simple LBD. The creation, entwined with dense pale pink roses arranged in a circle like an aura around the body, is a direct reference to Elsa Schiaparelli's collaboration with Jean Cocteau in 1937, which resulted in an evening coat with the same floral embroidery.
It is undoubtedly the opulent, eccentric jewellery and accessories that have anchored the Maison in the collective memory of the masses. The ever-present dialogue between body and nature, softness and hardness, man and machine has once again found its way into the F/W Couture collection. Alongside numerous embroideries in the shape of eyes and noses, it is above all the pieces in the style of Alberto Giacometti that one awaits with anticipation. The gold necklace with a pendant modelled on a human lung – faithful to the original size, capillaries included – is the undisputed focal point of the look with the black crepe dress. Despite the romance, abs surrounded by a rococo-style frame found their way onto the buckle of a waist belt. Simultaneously a statement of strength and substitute to a workout.
When one hears couture, they think of classic tailoring. Jeans or leather? Absolutely not, one would assume. Not with Daniel Roseberry. Deconstructed jeans embroidered with gold thread and a short dress in black leather are welcome outsiders and give the collection a modernity that shows that even the most traditional form of fashion can be redefined. The blue jeans look like they are worn backwards, elevating the look by taking away any casualness. The leather dress has traces of a biker jacket, especially with the quilting on the shoulders and the numerous zippers. Couture with functional elements and made of practical fabrics is surely unexpected but not unwanted.
Unconventional may be exciting, but couture still means extravagance. With this collection, Daniel Roseberry got nostalgic and returned to his beginnings. To the time when he was passionate about fashion because it takes you on a journey. It makes you dream and escape at the same time. While previous collections were influenced by the pandemic and all the feelings that came with it, Fall/Winter 2021/2022 celebrates that couture has survived in a world that loves technology as much as simplicity. The designer puts colours – salmon pink, terracotta, cornflower blue – in stark contrast with deep black, and makes sure that making a grand entrance with voluminous gowns made from metres upon metres of taffeta will not become a rarity.
Daniel Roseberry was all about dreams, love and beauty. Creating something, not because it crosses boundaries or challenges the status quo, but simply for the sake of aesthetics and joy. What could be more romantic than that?