Drawing by Daniel Roseberry


By Armelle Leturcq

On the occasion of Lady Gaga wearing a gorgeous Schiaparelli gown at the Joe Biden inauguration yesterday, discover a part of our meeting with Daniel Roseberry published in our latest issue, Crash #92.

If today his name echoes the rebirth of the mythical house of Schiaparelli, Daniel Roseberry nevertheless has years of career in fashion behind him, including ten years with Thom Browne in New York. As an avid drawer and art lover, with his eye always focused on creation, he is the perfect artistic director to rekindle the flame of a label that has marked the history of fashion in France and around the world. We met him in Place Vendôme, in the former apartments of Elsa Schiaparelli, where the brand is based today, to learn more about his career, his desires and his relationship with the Italian designer.

This interview was conducted before the quarantine, but I wanted to reach out again and ask how you are dealing with it?

I’m trying to balance the urge to be productive with this opportunity to stop and listen and reassess. I’m in quarantine in Greenwich village in NYC… It’s very quiet. I go on a walk once a day and bring my jump rope to get some exercise when I find a truly isolated spot. Otherwise, just a lot of writing, drawing… and working remotely on whatever I can.

What is your background? How did you begin in fashion?

I’ve been drawing since I was very young, but I really started sketching fashion when I was twelve. I went to a wedding and saw what the bride and bridesmaids were wearing and I didn’t like it. (laughs) So when we were driving home, from one end of Texas to the other, I was drawing during the entire car ride. I thought I knew how the bride wanted to look. It was the first time marrying my passion for drawing with anticipating how people want to look – especially women. Menswear is more personal, autobiographical… But there’s something that really activated in that car ride. From then on, I wanted to move to New York and be a designer. I moved there the week before my 21st birthday, went to FIT then dropped out. I started working at Thom Browne where I stayed for ten years. I left Thom Browne about four or five months before I moved to Paris. I left home with nothing. I just knew I had to create a space in my life in order to know how to fill it. I was so burnt out and I even thought about designing furniture or interning at the Met… I started doing erotic drawings… I was really open to anything. When Diego Della Valle hired me, I had two weeks to move to Paris. I packed two suitcases, moved to a hotel and had sixty-two days to do the couture collection. It was a real challenge but it was really fun. What I love the most about Schiaparelli is that she wasn’t a dress maker. She was not Vionnet, she was not Dior, she didn’t care about that stuff, about just making people beautiful. She was wrestling with ideas all the time, constantly exploring ways of expressing that. I came here with such a short period of time for both the first couture and the first ready-to-wear. It’s a new country, it’s a new team, a new language… a new everything! Most of my energy has been into surviving that. Now I feel 2020 starts a new chapter for me, where I can really start to explore more than just fashion. That’s something I’m really excited about. I’m not a dressmaker either. I love making moments happen on the red carpet, in the show… I get really turned on by that. I love the process of making garments, the draping, the drawing, the fittings. But in the end, the deeper meaning is not coming from the actual clothes.

How do you feel in Paris?

I’ve been coming here four times a year for work with Thom Browne, but it’s the first time I’ve lived here. It’s been a real challenge for me. I miss New York and its weekends where everybody’s out. On Sundays, New Yorkers use it as an opportunity to be outside. You’re just running around, running into people you know… It’s when you regenerate your energy for the week. I feel like Parisians are much more interior beings. You don’t get this energy here.

Maybe that’s because you don’t know that many Parisians yet.

For sure. The city and I are newly together; we’re still learning about each other. Especially me learning about Paris. I’m learning about what kind of life I want to build here too. I’m 34, I had a certain kind of life in New York which was painful to leave but I knew I had to. I actually was living in Brooklyn for seven years and I was like: “I can’t do this anymore”. It’s like Neverland. The bars aren’t changing, the way people spend their time and go out isn’t changing but I’m getting older. So I moved back to Manhattan and fell back in love with the city. I said goodbye to a lot of my life in Brooklyn. It was the beginning of the change. I made a decision with myself that some radical change was coming. I moved out of my apartment and moved into a friend’s apartment with two of my friends who are a couple. We were all sharing this one-bedroom apartment where I slept on the floor. All my stuff was in storage, like a student. I felt such a relief from getting rid of all my stuff and when this opportunity came I literally just had to pack my suitcase and move to Paris. I live two blocks away and when I’ll have to move again, I’ll pack the same suitcase. I have no new possessions and it’s a fully furnished apartment so I’m free.

When you arrived at Schiaparelli what was your perception of the house?

I knew what everybody knows about Schiaparelli. I knew her iconic pieces. I had always felt a connection…

Find the rest of the interview in the latest Crash issue, #92.

Interview by Armelle Leturcq.

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