Read on for all the highlights and best looks from day one of Paris haute couture week spring/summer 2021.
Schiaparelli artistic director Daniel Roseberry is having fun – that’s obvious. His now signature surrealist jewels, grand draping and artistic ‘gilding’ was on full show once again for his latest spring 2021 couture offering: a 25-look collection of otherworldly pieces with an 80s underscore. If lockdown has left you a little soft around the edges, fear not – the designer’s fuchsia mini dresses and latex cocktail gowns carved out of muscular torsos are your fast-track to a burly body. It is, in fact, the body that seems to occupy Roseberry’s mind, whether his focus is on re-shaping something or artfully accentuating it with halo-like draping, spliced tailoring trimmed with ornate embellishment or trains of fabric hanging from arms, ears or the tails of a jacket. Wonderfully eccentric with an unnerving dystopian twist (Look 7 is straight out of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange), the collection is a trip down Schiaparelli’s fantastical rabbit hole – giant padlock bags included.
Iris van Herpen
Entitled Roots of Rebirth, Iris Van Herpen’s latest collection explores the symbiosis of modern technology and artisanal craftsmanship. At once strikingly beautiful and heartbreakingly melancholic, the designer’s creations tap into the current zeitgeist and our desperately flawed relationship with the natural world. Picture an entangled empire of fungi, reimagined as rust-orange tendrils on a sweeping evening gown, or capillary-like embroidery coursing through the body of a dress, giving it life and exquisite shape. Fitting then, that this was also Iranian-born singer Sevdaliza’s runway debut – an artist celebrated for her rawly emotional and often melancholic songs. Her look, a blood red gown with aggressive, fan-like chiffon framing her neck and arms, serves as a reminder of Van Herpen’s obsession with innovative cutting techniques and her unwavering ability to embrace the darkness in all its disruptive glory.
Maria Grazia Chiuri once again enlisted the help of Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone to help bring her designs to life via a fairytale-like short film titled Le Château du Tarot. Inspired by Christian Dior’s love for the divinatory arts, the collection evokes the characters seen on tarot cards — particularly, a 15th-century tarot deck created for the Duke of Milan — with dramatic embroidered capes, brocade robes, delicate sweeping dresses, as well as a translucent veil that sits on top of a sequined dress. The iconic Bar jacket also has its own presence, as it features revisited curves, in the form of a black velvet suit. The creative director’s work along with the film is nothing short of an invitation to a mystical world, speaking to the power of fashion in aiding escapism and fantasies, at a time when things are seemingly bleak.