It’s been almost one year since the world was turned upside down by the pandemic. Amid all the chaos, turbulence, and despair, fashion’s relevance has been a continual topic of discussion. Yet, fashion is undeniably taking center stage as of late. First, there was the brouhaha caused by Vogue’s February cover featuring Kamala Harris dressed down in sneakers. Then there was last week’s inauguration. Even without all the traditional pomp and circumstance, it was joyful, meaningful, and symbolic. The powerful images remain indelibly fixed in my mind.
There were so many highlights. From the chic, classic coats worn by Vice President Kamala Harris, to the sophistication and quirky individual style ushered in by the new young generation (the Biden and Harris children, stepchildren, and grandchildren). We can’t stop talking about Ella Emhoff’s embellished Miu Miu coat. The night before, the talented young design student who studied at Parsons wore an outfit by Thom Browne. I applaud her unexpected choices. What a breath of fresh air.
I literally could not take my eyes off Amanda Gorman. The 22-year-old poet laureate wowed us with her words, her poise, her expressive, graceful hands, and her stunning outfit. Gorman glowed in a brilliant yellow Prada midcalf coat and red headband.
Of course, Lady Gaga created a real red carpet moment in a voluminous red skirt, fitted navy cashmere jacket, and huge gold dove brooch that symbolically carried an olive branch. Daniel Roseberry created it for Schiaparelli. It took 5 days to make it and was done without a fitting. There were a number of other choices submitted to Lady Gaga and Daniel admitted that he did know if she would wear his design until the last moment.
FYI, this was not Daniel’s first Inauguration outfit. In 2013, when Roseberry worked at Thom Browne (he was there for 11 years), he collaborated on Michelle Obama’s coat dress.
Paris Couture Week began on Monday, January 25, it ends on the 28th, and it will go on without any public attendance. Daniel Roseberry presented his spring 2021 couture collection for Schiaparelli on Monday morning. It is his third. Roseberry, who studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, is an unequivocally innovative designer working today.
The 35-year-old Texas-born creator is the first American-born designer to head an established French couture house and he is also one of the youngest. Since Roseberry’s appointment as artistic director of Schiaparelli in 2019, he intends to preserve the house’s storied legacy and create a modern vision of the couture.
Roseberry’s first collections for the fabled house focused on protective clothes for a metaphorical “end of the world” but in this past year, that has taken on a whole new meaning. After the pandemic hit, Roseberry, like so many other designers (and everyone else for that matter), struggled with fashion’s applicability.
Daniel has been very vocal about the need to create dreams, embrace fantasy and celebrate lost moments. His surrealist designs are a testament to Elsa Schiaparelli herself, who, in 1954, observed, “In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.”
“I want to make an alternative couture house: 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.”- Daniel Roseberry.
Daniel’s most recent couture collection is a unique testament to the power of creative expression, the magic of the couture, and a tribute to the human hand. Roseberry puts the focus on body parts, such as exaggerated abs and oversized shoulders.
The collection plays out in “inventive and disruptive” fabrics like molded leather, crisp, dry hand taffeta, silk-velvet bonded to neoprene, in addition to over-dyed silk faille and sinuous silk jersey.
Gold is Daniel’s preferred metal, and his gold accessories are always statement-making and bold. There are shoes with gold toes, long “Goldfinger” nails, ear-shaped earrings, gold bags with humongous openings for a key, and eye-shaped sunglasses.
A bit more ghoulish are the gold chest and face bust and a gilded breast with a child breastfeeding. In his program notes, Daniel is quick to point out that Elsa Schiaparelli also made clothes that emphasized the body, but he notes that her intentions were “not macabre” but instead meant to celebrate “the joy of peacocking and showing off”.
Let’s hope that sometime in 2021, we will be able to attend events where we can peacock and show off in high style!