From the moment of the first exit of Schiaparelli's Haute Couture Fall Winter 22 show, as the lights rose to a severe spotlight that followed models while they gracefully made their way down the runway, we knew that it was going to be a special one. These days, it's not a statement that carries a lot of weight, given the sheer magnificence that surrounds the brand, and the breath of life creative director Daniel Roseberry has breathed into its gilded lungs since his appointment, but it speaks to the sheer skill of Roseberry and the House of Schiaparelli as a whole: it's always going to feel special. And isn't that the point of couture?
For this season, it was about the conversation. With Elsa Schiaparelli, with her collaborators, including patriarchs of couture Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaïa, and Jean Paul Gaultier; and with the audience. 80s nostalgia, which has been reawakened in so many of us (including Pieter Mullier at Alaïa) these past months was overflowing, drawing on silhouettes from Lacroix's 1987 collection of pouf's and bustles.
Alongside such feminine shapes were a continuation of Roseberry's obsession with the body and sensuality. Corsteted bustiers stopped just short of the nipples, while others covered, but plunged straight down to the navel in a severe "v". Some were layered with sheer, clingy tops while others sprouted wildflowers out of their chests, sparkling in the light and revealing the unparalleled craftsmanship of Schiaparelli, crafted from hand painted and sequinned silk and leather which was reportedly molded onto the back of spoons to create the petals.
Each look welcomed the audience into a new world of Schiaparelli, weaving between Elsa and Daniel, telling a story of collaboration and inspiration. It was noticed in a black velvet off-shoulder column dress – very Roseberry – that was adorned with gigantic, spiralling, gold and pearl grapevines that were secured to the back of the head and spilled down over the chest. Very Schiaparelli. Or the neckline of the black velvet jacket from the following exit, which nodded to Elsa's by cutting the fabric into a face’s profile like Cocteau. Elsewhere, white doves were perched on the shoulders of a look, followed by the second last, where a deep blue velvet skirt was paired with nothing but a straw hat and a dove – perhaps an offering of peace during a time that feels so opposite.
Watch the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall Winter 2022 show, below.