What does it mean to make clothes by hand in the age of the internet? Most garments today exist solely on screens, worn by a celebrity for a few hours before online viewers move on to the next photo on their Instagram feed. The tensions between digital and physical, real and fake, and human and alien occupied Daniel Roseberry as he set out on his latest couture venture for Schiaparelli. For the last few years, the Italian house has kicked off couture week and served as the schedule’s crown jewel, with high drama, attention-getting looks, and A-list attendees (this time, J.Lo and Zendaya) dressed in custom designs based on looks that are about to walk the runway, ironically (or purposefully) feeding the media beast that he grappled with in today’s presentation.
The show, titled “Schiaparalien,” examined what couture might look like on Mars. Roseberry looked to founder Elsa Schiaparelli’s obsession with the stars along with her signature house codes and fused them with his Texan aesthetic (think: belt buckles, bandannas, and bolero jackets). In contrast to last season’s painterly palette, Roseberry stripped away all color, focusing on rich creams, browns, blushes, and blacks, letting the materials and the atelier’s warping of them sing. The asymmetrical jackets with bandana detailing and mangled velvet stood out, both hugging and shying away from the body in genuinely novel ways. Several looks featured sculpted breastplates in guipure lace and buttery velvet rising up to the models’ temples. Karlie Kloss made a rare return to the runway in a decadent dress with a sweeping curved neckline draped in chenille twill threads and silk pearls that swished with her hypnotic walk.
The red carpet machine is up and running after the SAG-AFTRA strike, and the runways are responding in kind. Most likely to be seen at the Oscars is a dress modeled by Irina Shayk: a form-fitting black velvet strapless number with contrasting nude jersey draped along the hems, sweeping and creating intrigue without overcomplicating the look. Elsewhere, faux horsehairs were knotted into symmetrical patterns, like nodules on an alien’s back, dotting silk sleeve hems and encrusting an armor-like golden bomber jacket. There was a minidress made entirely of tech detritus, calling attention to the pre-iPhone age, encrusted with wires, electronic chips, and cellphones that echoed one of Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour looks. It proved that designers agree on the way our future in fashion may look. But it was the more subdued looks, like an off-white wool satin suit with gargantuan proportions and an asymmetrical ball gown with a blush duchesse skirt under a black jersey gown, knotted and spiked at one shoulder, that look towards the future, inspiring awe and becoming even more rewarding upon second glance—something they may not be given in their digital life.
One look in particular garnered immediate online attention: a simple white ribbed jersey tank and corset paired with “inside-out” cargos, and an electrode encrusted alien baby as an accessory (yes, you read that right). As our world’s digitization continues full speed ahead, maybe this baby is our future, one in which the lines are blurred between digital and real. The liturgy of couture in the age of AI necessitates drama, not wearability (save for the red carpet). Roseberry winks at the planned obsolescence of today’s fashion cycle as he continues to play into it—and the push and pull between our human lives and those we live out in the not-so-distant future cyber world.
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