Schiaparelli stuns with couture robot baby, motherboard dress

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By Dan Sears

Peek-AI-boo!

At Paris haute couture fashion week on Monday, Schiaparelli’s creative director, Daniel Roseberry, wowed viewers yet again with his mind-boggling, futuristic collection featuring an extra-terrestrial flare — even introducing a microchip-encrusted baby doll.

The spring ’24 line served as an ode to the turn of the century — several pieces paid homage to the technology of Roseberry’s upbringing, while others exuded a Western touch — the hybrid of the two culminating in a space cowboy feel.

Intentional or not, the cyborg infant made of now-defunct tech became the centerpiece of the show due to its subsequent virality online, alongside a matching dress nicknamed “the Mother,” which was adorned with old flip phones, motherboards and other antiquated relics of the early aughts.

“That’s all pre-2007, which is now basically prehistoric technology, things like the flip phones, the CDs, the calculators and things like that,” Roseberry said, per Women’s Wear Daily.


Model carrying cyborg baby
Schiaparelli’s animatronic cyborg child wowed audiences in Paris on Monday. Getty Images

“A lot of people on TikTok have been taking AI and turning my collections into digital collections and seeing who wore it best, so I was thinking, the only card I have to play now is really my memories,” he added.

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The collection, titled “Schiaparalien,” speaks to the tension that’s brewing between advancement with artificial intelligence and Gen Z’s nostalgic obsession with Y2K devices like flip phones and digital cameras.

Serving as a “study in contradictions,” the line also juxtaposed martian-esque silhouettes with Western flairs, a nod to Roseberry’s home state of Texas and an exploration of “the earthbound and the heaven-sent.”

“But as art (and nature) teaches us again and again, the things and ideas that seem diametrically opposed to each other can also combine to make startling chimeras, objects composed of familiar parts that, when united, create something unexpected and new,” he wrote in the show notes.


Maggie Maurer  carrying robot baby
The microchip-encrusted doll was cradled by Maggie Maurer. AP

Funnel necks towered over the models’ heads — an asymmetrical, jewel-encrusted neckline exuding regality, another jet-black turtleneck nearly obstructing the model’s line of sight — and more than two dozen belt buckles were fastened down the pins of others.

Where some ensembles drowned in Western-style buckles and an ocean of long, billowing fringe, others boasted rigid patent leather and ballooned silhouettes with rounded, martian-like shoulders.

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A rare few were covered in silk, knotted horse braids akin to spikes on other-worldly creatures, while some bodices mimicked the appearance of gilded armor.

The space-age theme seemed to nod to Elsa Schiaparelli’s uncle, Giovanni, an observatory director in Milan who coined the term “martian,” as well as further the Italian label’s inextricable connection to the stars — the zodiac and astrology heavily influencing past collections — as “space has always been an informal code of the Maison.”

Even the show’s invites were inspired by the vast universe, modeled after the Voyager Golden Records, two discs that were aboard the 1977 Voyager spacecraft.

Schiaparelli is no stranger to shaking up the world of haute couture — last year, Kylie Jenner arrived at the label’s Paris runway dressed in a frock fastened with a lion’s head on the front, which was panned online by critics.

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