Dante’s Inferno in the Petit Palais

It sure felt good to be back in Paris, especially at Schiaparelli, where Daniel Roseberry opened this week’s haute couture season with a sensational Dantesque show inside the Petit Palais on Monday morning.

Schiaparelli AW24 – FN

After six days of menswear collections, where front rows of K Pop stars and influence peddlers were essentially dressed for free by many brands, it was refreshing to see scores of bona fide clients perched proudly on golden Louis XIV chairs in all their Schiaparelli finery.
Not that this show lacked star power: Kylie Jenner sent the paparazzi into a feeding frenzy as she strolled in attired in a look from the current collection, a black gown finished with the most remarkably lifelike lion’s head. Made of resin and faux fur, like several other animal fantasies also marched in this great show.

Diane Kruger joined Marisa Berenson in the front row, alongside Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu from Emily in Paris and uber stylist Law Roach.Though leave it to Doja Cat to cause the biggest sensation, strutting by in a sinful red bustier, bubble skirt and boots, her shoulders, arms and entire head covered in paint and matching sequins.

Doja Cat and Schiaparelli designer Daniel Roseberry at the AW24 show in Paris – FN

 Roseberry’s spring-summer 2023 collection was inspired by Dante, and the Divine Comedy.
“It’s a comedy and not a tragedy so I didn’t want dark, but to feel positive and beautiful and warm. And to have the sense that there was light at the end of the tunnel,” smiled Roseberry, before receiving plaudits from Olivier Rousteing, who joined fellow designer Ludovic de Saint Sernin in the front row.
The action opened in black and white with a shell-encrusted bustier over black jersey pants, accessorized with triangular gilded brass face earrings, the same as the coveted invitations to the show.
On several occasions, Roseberry referenced the bottle shape of the house’s signature fragrance Shocking, first in a stretch velvet corset and later in a white tailored jacket finished with a black resin snake collar.
He cut with abandoned bravura: extremely regal hourglass quilted coats laced up fully at the back; radical boleros finished with mohair pompons; and a hand-painted guipure blouse with a grand collar worthy of Catherine de’ Medici.
Plus, the American-born couturier’s fondness for Schiap’s much loved conical bras was apparent in a sublime beige metal sequin column, the bra finished with brass and hand facetted glass piercings.
Literally scores of clients wore conical bras on finished coats and jackets at this show, all of them oohing and aahing throughout in admiration at Roseberry’s sheer audacity.
“It’s the idea that in order to get to paradise you have to go through hell. Dante arrived in the Inferno in the middle of his life, and I loved that all the animals there each represented a different vice,” explained Roseberry, before pausing to embrace Jenner.
“That was magnificent. I want everything!” Kylie gasped. 
The show then went into overdrive with a stunning hand painted wool and silk snow leopard cocktail, again with a remarkably hyper-realistic resin head, worn by veteran supe Shalom Harlow.  
Irina Shayk later appeared in a black velvet gown sporting a giant resin lion’s head, while Naomi Campbell again stole the moment with a black resin wolf head jutting off a faux fur coat. The taxidermy leopard, lion and wolf representing lust, pride and avarice respectively.
In a collection entitled Inferno, Dante’s descent into the underworld was referenced in a body-skimming satin skirt topped with a technically remarkable plastron top made of Ceylan tree wood marquetry. While the 14,233-line poem’s nightmarish moments were recalled by a Picasso-like handmade hammered brass head mask, which in an impressive performance the model wore with aplomb; and a Goldfinger moment where the model wore black tuxedo pants, while her torso was simply sprayed in gold.
In between, Mr Pearl style gangster chalk stripe pant suits and Shocking-shaped tuxedos were more restrained yet suitably surreal. 
All building to a climax to a great Diana Ross remix by Lullabies & Lullabies, and huge applause at the finale, as Roseberry took an extended tour of the catwalk, before sprinting down to his basement backstage. Anna Wintour leading the pack to congratulate the American on a proper triumph.
“With Schiaparelli I want to maintain this idea that people don’t know what they are going to experience when they come to our show,” the couturier concluded. 

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