The Schiaparelli couture show for Spring/Summer 2023 was a spectacle to behold. Creative director Daniel Roseberry drew inspiration from Dante’s Divine Comedy (1320) and the show notes described the collection as an “homage to doubt”. Media personality Kylie Jenner and rapper Doja Cat arrived wearing lifelike faux taxidermy lion and a bedazzled devil respectively, a nod to the three beasts that Dante encountered in the first canto of Inferno.
The three beasts, a leopard, a lion and a she-wolf, represent the sins of man that stop him from reaching the truth of God. Scholars have argued that the animals represent all of humanity’s sins, with the leopard representing fraud, the lion violence and the she-wolf incontinence.
The literal rendering of Dante’s beasts in Schiaparelli’s Spring/Summer show serve as reminders of the creative journey that we must take in order to reach our goals. The celebrities wearing Schiaparelli’s beast heads could be seen to represent the spiritual threats that stand between us and peace. In a world where material wealth, desire and the fraud of online influencing are rampant, it is easy to forget the importance of doubt and self-reflection in our journey towards truth.
The Schiaparelli show was a reminder of this, and a beautiful one at that.