HTSI editor’s letter: from the surrealists to the realists
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Does your home conceal a hidden doorway? What about a secret room? Literature is full of concealed stairwells and secluded chambers; there’s something magical about a library bookshelf that, when pushed, reveals another world. I’ve always enjoyed the secret architecture of buildings – whether in the corridors and passages that mark the subterranean workings of a stately home or the false features built into studies that help conceal the booze.
Rosanna Dodds has investigated the phenomenon and finds that, from Versailles to modern Manhattan, there remains a fascination with secret spaces. I’m deeply envious of Derek Blasberg’s “cloffice”, for instance, a closet workspace designed by German architect Yaiza Armbruster, revealed when he hits a button and a wall-mounted mirror transforms into a door.
Just as deceptive and beguiling are the creations of Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian fashion designer and friend of the great surrealists. Schiaparelli looked for drama in her fashion, treating garments as a basis for extraordinary creations and using unexpected twists to transform her jewellery and dresses into sculptural works of art. As a new show about the designer opens at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and on the eve of his own couture collection being shown there, the brand’s current artistic director Daniel Roseberry reflects on its legacy and lore. Roseberry’s creations for Schiaparelli, worn by Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and actors such as Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jessie Buckley, have, like his shocking predecessor, done much to destabilise the fashion status quo. Thanks to Roseberry’s playful imagination, red-carpetwear has become more experimental and more daring: it was Roseberry who put Cardi B in a gold mask and bedecked Bella Hadid in a bronchial sheath at Cannes.
The fantasy narrative is part of the Schiaparelli trademark, but it’s a legacy that Roseberry has taken care not to plunge into parody. His vision walks the fine line between high theatre and modern wearability. And it’s been very successful: as Louis Wise discovers, Roseberry has sparked a renaissance at the house.
From the surrealists to the realists: this week I’m sharing my recent trip to the Faroe Islands, a place in which hard labour and an unfussy disposition are essential traits among the people, but where the crazy geography and isolation give rise to lives entwined with myth. An unusual destination that has for centuries owed its livelihood to fishing, the Faroes are seizing the opportunities that have arisen with a nascent tourist trade. I spent five days there last month on a guided trip of the islands’ many landmarks, and have found myself thinking of my time there almost daily ever since.
Not much call for high fashion in the Faroes, although I discovered they do have a burgeoning young designer scene. Nonetheless, some of you might be curious to know what lies in store next season, and which will be the autumn’s biggest trends. Quentin De Briey and Isabelle Kountoure have distilled some of the “key codes” in their shoot with Kiki Willems; think of it as a moodboard that might influence you later on. Red is going to make a comeback, but I would argue that lilac is the colour of the season, as demonstrated by the Queen at the Platinum Jubilee. And the white vest, as featured on our cover, is an essential. It led the AW22 looks at Loewe, Prada and Bottega Veneta – a collection that featured pieces that looked like they were made in cotton pima but were fabricated in leather. Which brings us back to the subject of deception. The secret’s out this summer – it’s too good not to share.
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