On April 23, 2019, the day that Daniel Roseberry’s appointment as Artistic Director of Schiaparelli was announced, the house posted a quote of his on Instagram. “Schiaparelli was a master of the modern; her work reflected the chaos and hope of the turbulent era in which she lived,” it began. “Today, we find ourselves asking similarly big, identity-shaping questions of our own: What does art look like? What is identity? How do we dress for the end of the world?”
Little could Roseberry have known then how right he got it. A year on, the coronavirus pandemic brought modern life to a virtual standstill. Now, as we inch our ways back outside of our homes, we’re returning to a new world. Those of us who pretend it’s unchanged—by refusing to wear masks, say—face dramatic consequences. The crisis certainly rearranged Roseberry’s life. A post-show trip from Paris to Los Angeles was scuttled by the California lockdown, and he made it to New York with just a day or two to spare before the planes here were grounded. It’s been months since he’s seen his Schiap colleagues in person, or sat down to work in the house’s Place Vendome atelier.
Haute couture is all but impossible to develop in quarantine; it’s a hands-on, collaborative métier. In the absence of a show collection, Roseberry sat down in Washington Square Park to sketch a “collection imaginaire” for a promotional video. “It’s the story of a collection that could’ve been,” Roseberry says. “There’s this beautiful, poignant admission that we didn’t have the resources to function as usual.” Well, unusual times call for unusual measures. The resulting sketches were so well-received in Paris that it was determined that they would be presented, and the items they display offered on a made-to-order basis. The idea is that in December a selection of samples will do a global tour and maybe some of them will be secured for awards season—if indeed such a thing as awards season will exist in our new world.