The Matador Couture Collection from Schiaparelli. Olé!

matador couture collection

Paris Fashion Week has returned and with it a slew of new breathtaking and impressive fashions from designers who have spent the last year working hard under quarantine. This year the Matador Couture Collection from Schiaparelli stood out among the others for its unique look, impeccable craftsmanship and nod to the brand’s artistic heritage.

Matador Couture Collection

matador couture collection

The Matador Couture collection from Schiaparelli is a post surrealist homage to bullfighting and art. Toreador-inspired looks take on the form of outlandishly embellished bolero jackets, leather stirrup pants and stylized versions of Portuguese and Spanish Monteras (hats).

hat by stephen jones millinery
hat by stephen jones millinery

matador couture collectionschiaparelli Fqll Winter 2021schiaparelli couture 2022

Twisted horns and roses made of both fabric and metal are used as embellishments (roses are traditionally thrown into bullfighting rings) and the billowing fabrics are reminiscent of Bullfighter capes and muletas, the stick with the attached red cloth used in the final third of a bullfight.

matador couture 2matador couturehaute couture schiaparellihaute couture fall winter 2021

The legacy of Elsa Schiaparelli’s 1930s and ’40s collaborations with surrealists Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali can be seen throughout the collection. The Mini dress in wool crepe with black duchess satin insert embroidered in pink silk taffeta (shown below, right)  references embroidery from the Schiaparelli archives, specifically seen on the art-deco evening coat from 1937 by Schiaparelli and Jean Cocteau, shown on the left below:

left: Evening coat by Elsa Schiaparelli and Jean Cocteau, 1937. Right: Schiaparelli Matador Couture, 2021

Other references to Schiaparelli’s past collections include the Fashion House’s unparalleled embroidery techniques and attention to large statement jewelry. Bringing the collection into the 21st century is indicative by the use of modern and innovative materials like resin, vinyl, denim, leather and metallic lurex.

metal breast bustier

“For two years, I’ve been saying that I didn’t care about nostalgia. This season, though it’s where it all started. I found myself wondering again and again: What if you combined a little Manet; a little Lacroix; a little 1980s; a little 1880s; a little matador; a little space alien; a little Ingres; a little shimmer; a lot of color? Could I do it? And what would it look like? The answer is this, my fourth couture collection, “The Matador”: A collection that honors Elsa’s vision but isn’t in thrall to it,” explained Creative Director Daniel Roseberry

schiaparelli high jewelry

Like in much surrealist art, trompe l’oeil and body parts play a large role in the collection.The appearance of Salvador Dali’s iconic disembodied noses, ears and lips that embellish many of the pieces were 3D printed.

schiaparelli couture embroidery and hardware detail

Faux breasts made of black resin, mirrored tiles and gold appear throughout, handbags are shaped like lips, earrings like ears or eyes and belt buckles like hands. Even the shoes -black satin platforms, pumps, and mules– have gold metal toes bearing silver nails.

hand and lip belt buckle

Lastly, there’s the bride in a strapless wedding dress in ivory silk taffeta with exaggerated volume created from hand-crafted pleating.

matador couture bridal gown

The bustier is embroidered with rhinestones from pieces of hand-cut glass mirrors that are painted for an antique effect.

schiaparelli bride bodiceschiaparelli bridal gown 2021

All images courtesy of Schiaparelli 

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