Schiaparelli kicked off the Spring 2023 Couture Fashion Show by turning heads not only from the show but from guests with people like Doja Cat, who showed up decked out in a knit pencil skirt, crimson silk bustier, and matching wrap that hung from her elbows. At first glance, she was hardly recognisable to spectators due to the 30,000 red Swarovski crystals that had been hand-applied to her face, head, and arms earlier that morning by makeup artist Pat McGrath and her colleagues over five hours. Kylie Jenner, with her skintight black bustier velvet dress, which was finished with a massive hyper-realistic roaring lion head fastened to her chest and made of sculpted foam, wool, and faux fur. Who both gave the audience a roaring preview of the collection.
We could see the message Daniel Roseberry was trying to convey but the internet did not perceive it that way. People are enraged with the animal heads with little knowledge that these are hand-embroidered, painted, and moulded artificial animal heads. While people think that these are inappropriate and horrifying, so too is human consumption if you truly think about it, which depletes the world’s natural resources. To claim that these outfits encourage animal cruelty while simultaneously promoting imitation fur and leather is disingenuous.
Real fur and leather’s aesthetic and tactile effects are also promoted by imitation fur and leather. Yes, the looks are alarming, but only because a face has been placed on a substance we use so frequently. If we enjoy using animal products (visually as well), we need to keep this in mind. Only because the faces conjure up images of violence is it unacceptable. If the animal heads were removed, the outfit would have looked like a faux fur snow leopard and would have been a huge hit. Ask yourself why the skulls inspire such wrath; perhaps it’s because they serve as a reminder of the harm we commit for our own consumption.
What appealed to me in the ‘Inferno’ wasn’t just the theatrics of Dante’s creation — it was how perfect a metaphor it provided for the torment that every artist or creative person experiences when we sit before the screen or the sketchpad or the dress form, when we have that moment in which we’re shaken by what we don’t knowDaniel Roseberry said on the show notes
Roseberry gave some background in this season’s collection notes. Drawing inspiration from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, a 14th-century poetry that is divided into three books called Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, has 14,233 lines that explore the author’s spiritual journey. The leopard, the lion, and the she-wolf—representing lust, pride, and avarice—are specifically mentioned by Roseberry as his basis for the animalistic symbolism in Inferno. These problematic animal heads, or “faux-taxidermy sculptures,” as Roseberry refers to them, came into existence as a result.
With this collection, I wanted to step away from techniques I was comfortable with and understood, to choose instead that dark wood, where everything is scary but new, where I would be feeling my way through someplace I didn’t know and didn’t understand.Daniel Roseberry
To look at the full collection click below: