Paris Couture Week’s Spring 2023 season kicked off this morning with the release of Daniel Roseberry of Schiaparelli, a series of bibs mounted with spooky, hyper-realistic animal heads jutting out from the shoulders and chest. Irina Shayk wore a dress like this to open the fashion show, and Kylie Jenner was sitting in the front row in the same look. In some ways, Jenner literally looks like she’s sniffing a lion, with her mane rubbing against her contoured cheeks.
Their realism seems to have polarized the internet, with several commenters confusing fake heads with real taxidermy. The confusion is intentional; In the show’s show notes Roseberry wrote: “Imitation (is that a real lion?) becomes its own form of Surrealism in this collection, such that you’re never quite sure who made the piece you’re looking at. Is it nature?”
Not everyone was angry. Designers and stylists like Adam Selman, Karla Welch, and Marc Jacobs lauded Roseberry as a “genius” on Instagram, describing the look as a “victory”, where they showed their support with a series of heart emojis. Many on fashion twitter saw the entire collection as a meticulous display of brilliance – a murder if you will. a user declared: “THIS IS THE LEVEL!”
Considering that many fashion houses in the industry such as Versace and Gucci have recently pledged to stop using fur, the choice to make dresses that look like safari booty is too much for reaction. And while the head of the lion — and the leopard and she-wolf seen on the runway on Shalom Harlow and Naomi Campbell — are fake taxidermy creations entirely handcrafted from man-made materials like foam and resin, the internet wasn’t happy. Instagram commenters simply asked, “Is this a real lion?” As Roseberry predicted, but at the same time, “Why does it have to look like a real lion?” (Jenner seems to already know that comments are coming, with an Instagram post highlighting the “fake” nature of her dress.)
Roseberry saw them as representing protection, and wrote on her Instagram, “Celebrating the magnificence of nature and protecting the woman who wears it.” The entire collection was inspired by Dante. hellwhere the leopard, lion, and lioness serve as allegories for lust, pride, and greed.
Roseberry also wanted to play with the concept of doubt this season, specifically “creation doubt and intent doubt. Twin, sometimes contradictory impulses to please the audience and impress oneself; indecision that is every artist’s constant companion.”
There is no doubt that he has succeeded by challenging himself with new techniques that he seems to have already mastered. It’s clear that no detail was spared in the Instagram post, where he shared behind-the-scenes footage of the fake taxidermy. You can practically see the taste buds on the she-wolf’s tongue. But her elegant technique seems to have spared even her stubborn fans on Instagram, where Roseberry is a couture darling; many commentators said that no matter how amazing the craftsmanship, the pieces glorified hunting and using animals as trophy.
The reaction to the show is similar to Dante’s. hell Maybe that was the point from the very beginning. Roseberry knew that for this—which is probably the tenth link of hell—she knew she could be thrown to the wolves of the internet, and she seems to welcome that, ending the show notes with the words: “I remember that ascension to heaven was not possible without the first journey into the fires and the fear that comes with it. Let me embrace it always. “
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