UMagnified by cameras, Kylie Jenner walked through the marble halls of the Petit Palais to the Schiaparelli haute couture show. A stylist, hairspray in hand, made sure her hair was in place at all times. Another stylist frantically ran a lint roller over the 379 million follower entrepreneur’s black dress. And a third stylist combed what was hanging on the velvet dress: the mane of a deceptively real-looking lion’s head. It was, of course, a creation by Schiaparelli creative director Daniel Roseberry – Irina Shayk debuted the dress on the runway soon after.
Lots of heads! Naomi Campbell wore a coat with a wolf’s head, Shalom Harlow a dress with the head of a snow leopard. Roseberry, who was inspired for his collection by Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”, calls it “Inferno Couture”. The poet wants to climb the mountain of virtue, but three beasts of prey – embodying the three main sins of pride, avarice and lust – block his way to salvation.
Roseberry’s animal creations were made only of foam, wool and silk. But there was criticism on social media: These are endangered animals, Schiaparelli encourages poaching with the collection; and in general the clothes are “tasteless”, “creepy”, “wrong”. Some also questioned the sanity of Roseberry, who has worked for Schiaparelli as chief designer since 2019.
Eine Hommage an Women of Colour
Ingrid Newkirk, President of the animal welfare organization Peta, found supportive words: “Kylie, Naomi and Irina’s looks celebrate the beauty of wild animals and could be a statement against trophy hunting. We encourage everyone to commit 100 percent to designs that show human ingenuity and prevent animal suffering.” The statement did nothing to change the outrage. It even took a back seat to the fact that singer and show guest Doja Cat sat in makeup for five hours to have makeup artist Pat McGrath cast 30,000 crimson Swarovski stones on her.
The big couture brands manage without scandals: Dior, Chanel, Armani. Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by singer and dancer Josephine Baker for her Dior collection: with fringed dresses, long evening coats, feather details and designs made of shimmering velvet and metallic fabrics. Away from tight bustiers and towards straight cuts, the designer celebrated the Années Folles, Baker’s heyday, in the large fashion tent at the Musée Rodin. The Missouri-born cabaret singer is at the heart of Dior’s story, Chiuri said of her tribute. A wealthy customer during her lifetime, Baker attended the 1959 Yves Saint Laurent couture show for Dior. In 2019, the human rights activist who died in 1975, who spent a large part of her life in France and was a member of the Résistance, was the first black person to be accepted into the Pantheon in Paris. Working with African-American artist Mickalene Thomas, Chiuri also memorialized other black women. Thomas portrayed 13 plus-size women of color, including Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone and Naomi Sims. The Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai embroidered the fabric images with sequins.