Daniel Roseberry’s ‘The Divine Comedy’-inspired collection kicks off Paris Haute Couture Week spring-summer 2023
In Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem “The Divine Comedy,” narrator Dante got to discover the Nine Circles of Hell through a journey with Roman poet Virgil guiding him. But before making it to the Inferno, he first encountered three beasts—the leopard, lion, and she-wolf—representing lust, pride, and avarice, respectively. These creatures made a stylish appearance this year through Schiaparelli’s spring 2023 couture collection.
Opening Paris Haute Couture Week, Daniel Roseberry, the artistic director of the Parisian fashion house, looked at “The Divine Comedy” as inspiration, resulting in a wild collection that is just theatrical. Schiaparelli is long known for its unusual silhouettes and sculptural designs. Think of the gilded breastplates, surrealist accessories, and furniture-inspired pieces it has produced in the past. This time, its collection is making rounds online for its creation of very realistic heads of the abovementioned beasts.
One netizen commented that the pieces are “distasteful,” “disturbing,” and a “promotion of violence.” Another posted that it “glamorizes both trophy hunting and animal violence,” serving an overall feel of “Cruella De Vil meets Colonizer/Poacher chic.”
In one of the maison’s recent posts, it clarifies that there were no animals harmed in the making of the pieces. The animal heads were made of “sculpted foam, resin, wool, and silk faux fur, hand painted to look as life-like as possible.”
Daniel also notes that this collection is his homage to doubt. “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,” he said.
Apart from the now viral pieces adorned with faux animal heads, Daniel’s collection also featured handpainted velvet garbs, oversized tailored coats that are cinched in the waist, and a dress made of leather-covered tin paillettes taking everyone to “Purgatorio” and “Paradiso.”
“One cannot exist without the others. It is a reminder that there is no such thing as heaven without hell; there is no joy without sorrow; there is no ecstasy of creation without the torture of doubt,” the designer said. “My prayer for myself is that I remember that always—that, on my most difficult days, when inspiration just won’t come, I remember that no ascension to heaven is possible without first a trip to the fires, and the fear that comes with it. Let me embrace it always.”
Check out Schiaparelli’s spring 2023 couture collection below: