Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023

What preconceptions and impositions do we unknowingly rely on every time we judge the world around us and consequently a work of art? What is “real” and what is “surreal”? This is the big question that today’s society is asking. And it is from this interplay of doubts and provocations that Inferno, the new Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023 collection by Schiaparelli, draws inspiration. Inferno, indeed, like Dante’s masterpiece that fascinated Daniel Roseberry, Creative Director of the Maison, struck by how its story is basically “an allegory of doubt”. What is a dress? And what is a jewel? What is the line that establishes the border between one and the other?

Asymmetric dress worn with hyper-realistic lion faux fur and resin handmade head on the sleeve, Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023

«As (Dante) climbs deeper into hell – writes Daniel Roseberry – he realizes just how little he actually knows: all those years, all that life, and yet he remains in that “dark wood”, the path he had once walked so surely vanished from sight.» And so, every certainty is questioned. Every rule is broken. And we witness a parade of twists and turns that arouse amazement and almost “fright”, such as the stuffed animals (peluche), beautiful enough to look real, made with resins, fake furs and other artificial materials. A celebration of the beauty of wild animals and perhaps a hymn to human ingenuity and creativity along with an open statement against trophy hunting.

Faux fur coat with hyper-realistic wolf head handmade in resin, Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023

And it is with animals that Daniel Roseberry opens our eyes wide to a new concept of jewelry: we might think that the leopard, a symbol of lust, whose jaws stand out on the sheath dress worn by Shalom Harlow, is actually the majestic pendant of an imaginary choker. Similarly, we could imagine that the lion, symbol of pride, worn by Irina Shayk, and the she-wolf, symbol of avarice, worn by Naomi Campbell, are actually imposing brooches that embellish the velvet dress and the long-haired coat of the two divas with symbolism and solemnity. The symbol of the deceiving snake also appears, which wrapped around the neck of the wearer recalls a tempting necklace.

Shaped tailored jacket with snake hand sculpted in resin, Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023

Column dresses, like jewels, see the use of highly innovative alternative materials. One of the dresses was sculpted in waves of actual mother of pearl. And the beads that cover a skirt are not made of fabric but of wood, like the most avant-garde jewels.

We could also ask ourselves what is the boundary between body and accessory. Faces painted in gold parade on the catwalk wearing sunglasses with holes in gold-pleated bronze. On the catwalk, we could see also necklaces in hammered gold-pleated bronze on which broken glass or broken amber are mounted, which blend with the colors of the body together with the shades of orange: to all intents and purposes colors and shapes that recall Dante’s Inferno. But that’s not all: the same faces painted in gold also return in detail in the earrings and bags, once again emphasizing the use of innovative materials. Like leather that is combined with mirrored glass cut to measure. Or the face carved on the triangle-shaped earrings painted in varnish that recall Dante’s shape of Hell in reverse. Or like the pair of egg-shaped earrings in hand-enamelled black painted brass with reflections in gold and ivory that perfectly match the face, seeming to be a continuation of it. «This collection – writes Daniel Roseberry – is my homage to doubt. The doubt of creation, and the doubt of intent.» But at the end, we might ask, is it really necessary to resolve the doubt?

Earrings representing a statue face in gilded brass, Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023

And then, the call of Inferno to the element of fear, and the thought always faithful to Elsa Schiaparelli. «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.» And in fact, what is certain is that Schiaparelli has always told a new story and has always done so through provocation. In the words of Daniel Roseberry: «You don’t know what you’re going to encounter here, but you know that the story will be different each time.»

Laura Inghirami during her visit at Schiaparelli for the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023 collection