It was Doja Cat who set the tone for the Schiaparelli Spring 2023 Haute Couture show in Paris on Monday. The singer has undeniably mastered what it takes to create a show-stopping front row look. Season after season, the artist, alongside her creative team, dream up ethereal and mesmerizing beauty looks that go on to make an impact well after Fashion Week is over. Whether she’s painting her head and face in a white geometrical pattern after shaving off her head and eyebrows or covering herself entirely in gold body paint from head to toe, the Grammy award-winning singer is no stranger to committing to a beauty look.
Monday’s Schiaparelli show was no exception as the Woman hitmaker attended the Spring 2023 Haute Couture show covered in 30,000 red Swarovski crystals. Each crystal was meticulously hand-applied by Pat McGrath and her team, and took nearly five-hours to complete.
Then, there was Kylie Jenner. Not one to be outshined, the youngest of the Kar-Jenner clan showed up wearing a black strapless dress adorned by an ultra-realistic lion’s head, mane and all, hand-fashioned out of foam, resin, and paint. Tell me you’re a Leo without telling me you’re a Leo.
Turns out, the wild look was actually one of the pieces from Daniel Roseberry’s current collection for Schiaparelli. Modeled by Irina Shayk on the runway, the dress was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from his 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. Shalom Harlow and Naomi Campbell also glided down the catwalk adorned with hyperrealistic snow leopard and wolf heads made out of resin jutting out of faux fur.
Naturally, because it’s the Internet, many took offense to the collection, with some mistaking the hyperrealistic designs for actual taxidermy. Others took it a step further and accused Jenner and Roseberry of perpetuating violence against animals. Sure, it’s a little grotesque, but if you remove the animal heads all you are left with is a faux fur dress and jacket, a material that we so regularly consume. It’s hypocritical to suggest that these creations promote animal cruelty while pushing faux fur and leather. If you ask us, the outrage is just as faux as the creations.
Likely aware that he would receive backlash, Roseberry decided to explain himself in the show notes, writing that he was particularly inspired by “the leopard, the lion, and the she-wolf—representing lust, pride, and avarice” in Inferno. He said he wanted to celebrate “the glory of nature and guarding the woman who wears it.”
Whatever your take on it is, it’s worth remembering that Haute Couture is not supposed to be wearable in the first place. It’s more for designers to express their most wild imagination and push the boundaries of craftsmanship. The level of expertise and technique it takes to embroider, sculpt, and paint, all by hand, faux animal heads that looked so life-like people were genuinely wondering if Kylie Jenner was walking around with a decapitated lion on her shoulder, says it all.
Divisive foam animal heads aside, Roseberry’s collection was couture with a capital C. Some looks that significantly altered our brain chemistry include a meticulously-tailored pinstripe suit with exaggerated shoulders and a cinched waist, a lace-up velvet corset top with a keyhole detail on the lapel paired with a pleated ecru mini-skirt meant to mimic the brand’s Shocking! fragrance bottle, an off-the-shoulder leather jacket-slash-minidress, a cream-colored quilted coat with an exaggerated collar and fully lace-up back, and a crepe jacket and skirt paired with a hammered brass and patina handmade giant’s head— a reference to the friendly giants Dante encounters in hell.
In Jenner’s own post-show words: “We want everything!”