Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture by Simone Rocha





In 1877, Elsa Schiaparelli’s uncle Giovanni Schiaparelli, the director of the Brera Observatory in Milan, discovered something new: a series of channels, an area as large as the Grand Canyon, scoring the surface of Mars. He also coined the term “martian”, and inadvertently began our modern fascination with creatures from out there, a fascination that continues to this day. So it makes sense that space has always been an informal code of the Maison. Elsa was, famously, preoccupied with astrology, and why not? Looking to the stars was clearly a family pastime. This collection is an homage to that obsession, as well as a study in contradictions — of legacy and the avant-garde, of the beautiful and the provocative, of the earthbound and the heaven-sent. But as art (and nature) teaches us again and again, the things and ideas that seem diametrically opposed to each other can also combine to make startling chimeras, objects composed of familiar parts that, when united, create something unexpected and new. It is, in fact, one of the Maison’s guiding philosophies: Elsa was committed to unlikely marriages win her own design, and the looks in this collection honor that tradition, combining old world techniques (such as over-embroidered guipure laces, velvet and lace appliqués, and hand cut and embroidered chenille fringe) with new world shapes, patterns, and references (such as a motherboard-and-strasse microchip dress encrusted with pre-2007 technological artifacts — now, the technology I grew up with is so antiquated that it’s almost as difficult to source as certain vintage fabrics and embellishments). They also unite her personal references with my own: you’ll see abstracted references to iconographies of my home state of Texas throughout, from the bandana, here remade in hand-painted paillettes; to the cowboy boot, reconceived as a thigh-high fantasy bristling with buckles; to the iconic horse braid dressage knots redone as silk satin spikes and smothering a camel suede bomber jacket and a white denim corset suit. Elsa was famous for her codes — the keyhole, the measuring tape, anatomical body parts — and we’ve embedded them like Easter eggs in jewelry, shoes, clutches, and embroidery, a secret message from us to the woman who wears them. The result are a series of profiles both familiar and not — part human, part something else. And, therefore, totally Schiaparelli.





After last season, which was about reducing each look to something concise and even sometimes arresting, my instinct here was to build the collection in a different way, for a collection that adventures, explores, and dares. One that feels more organic, more sensual, more impromptu. I found freedom in separates—a white shirt, perfect pants, enormous puffer coats and even knitwear basics like cardigans and tube skirts. I wanted to make an impossible wardrobe—impossible not because it’s not wearable, but because it’s so extraordinary, a Surrealist’s interpretation of a woman’s essential closet. There’s a sense of freedom, of disobedience; these are pieces a woman can assemble however she wants; that feeling of transgression and spontaneity she should experience when she does so is one I felt as well when I was creating them—most of the ‘looks’ you see here were put together in the days leading up to this show, as opposed to head to toe formulas that have been labored over for months. This approach felt like a revelation. Uniting everything is Schiaparelli’s long connection to art and artists - their daring, their color, their process. More than any other Maison, Schiaparelli has always been in conversation with art: one form of art talking to and inspired by another. In this collection, each piece has been somehow inspired by an artist, either one of Elsa’s time, or mid-century, or of our own. We hand-painted a woman’s body with brushwork inspired by Lucian Freud, and then transferred that image to a stretch silk body stocking, where each brushstroke was rendered in shimmering paillettes. The sculptor Jack Whitten’s mirrored mosaic pieces gave birth to a broken-mirror stretch cardigan and skirt. A leather cigarette box that trims a ball gown skirt is an homage to Sarah Lucas, and the deep blue pebble-like beads and powder that cover a multitude of surfaces are a nod to Yves Klein, but also to Miro’s illustrations for children. Elsewhere in the collection are tributes to Dali - those surrealist sunrises giving birth to a multitude of vibrant color degradé’s, Matisse (not his work, but the palm fronds at the hotel Regina, now in black long haired shearling as a fantastic faux - coat), and even a white marble Venus has made her way onto a winter white melton coat. Even the walls of Lucian Freud’s London studio home inspired the dramatic chaos of painterly brushwork on an oversized white laminated puffer. This collection has been so heavily inspired by the agony and ecstasy of creation—but still offers clothes for a woman to love for a lifetime. That combination of transgression and wit extends to this season’s accessories as well: Giacometti’s monumental sculptures are reinterpreted here as skinny drops of stone- capped gold, informing a new chapter of bijoux. Claude Lalanne’s beloved moldings inspired massive brooches and cuffs, for which I used my own house plants: I’d cut off a leaf, bring it in, and have it cast in metal, imposing within it some of our artisans’ faces from the studio. There are also Mountains of wooden bijoux - the first time for us. Burl wood hands, plaster white lobsters, and the Inauguration Dove, our symbol and promise of hope, dipped in gilded 24K gold leaf. And our new Schiap bag is re-thought too, either hand-painted in multicolored alligator, or buried under piles of lightweight wooden beads, or its signature ‘trapunto’ technique echoed in white strands of plaster beads and bugle beaded measuring tapes. The toe shoes and the keyhole shoes are reduced to their most ‘barely-there’ essentialism, with the maison’s signature measuring tape running up the bag of the leg, a detail we will carry into the future lines of footwear. We live and create fashion in a time when creativity, internet-breaks, and celebrity gags come at us weekly, daily, and now by the hour. Some of these aren’t even created by human hands or minds. Most all of them are forgotten by tomorrow. It’s why I wanted this collection to be aggressively, unmistakably human - and to be rooted in artistic references that feel timeless. To dress, decorate, but most importantly, to create, is as primitive as any instinct we have. Going into the unknown, when creative expression and fame feels available to any and all, at least for a moment, we wonder: What can break through? For our Maison, it is the power of design, the power of our artisans, and the power of the human hand at work. - Daniel Roseberry




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