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Schiaparelli embraces its namesake’s Surrealism

WHAT a weird world we live in —  and a maison thinks we should be weird along with it.

Schiaparelli, the namesake brand of Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli, released its Ready to Wear collection for Fall last week on Instagram, showing off, of all things: a giant golden ear serving as a phone case (into which a model speaks). The implications are mind-boggling. Schiaparelli, after all, was molded from Surrealism —  its founder, well-born and eccentric Elsa Schiaparell, was a friend of Salvador Dali’s.

Today under the helm of Daniel Roseberry, serving as the maison’s Artistic Director, the brand has seen survival beyond its resurrection —  the brand was shuttered in 1954, but had been revived in 2007. The brand, while once famous for its high-minded artistic inclinations in the 20th century, is gaining mainstream success for dressing Lady Gaga during President Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration.

The giant dove that Lady Gaga wore on her breast last January is a recurring motif for this season. This dove motif accompanies breasts, teeth, molars, ears, and eyes; placed so on clothes as to be suggestive —  or, in the spirit of surrealism, plain confusing.

Clothes covered in locks and keys (a motif also seen in the Milan runways) are on Schiaparelli’s lookbook, as are bags in the shape of breasts, and jackets whose closures appear to be made of locks and keys.

What’s interesting about the brand is the actual politeness of the rest of the outfits: think houndstooth suits, cream sweaters, and matronly capes. The dissonance in the provocative nature of the accessories combined with the conventionality of the actual clothes make a dialogue for the fluctuating identity of “identity” today. — Joseph L. Garcia

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