Cover Schiaparelli FW21 couture

Sustainability has been on the minds of couturiers this season

While the sustainability has been on the lips and minds of every designer in the last few years, it seems the going green has finally reached even the most rarified part of fashion. Where once couture was defined as creating the most unique, over-the-top pieces for select clientele, designers are now redefining the craft, using it as opportunity to use the most sophisticated skills and technology on offer to find solutions to fashion's pollution problem, proving that even couture can go circular.

Dutch couturier Ronald van der Kemp gave us an intimate tour of his latest collection, entitled "The Mind Vaccine," because he hoped that as people emerged from the pandemic, brimming with pent up energy, that they'd remember to "do things responsibly and with more attention." 

His entire collection of unique looks, each in his signature camp aesthetic, is made from upcycled or leftover fabrics from the last two years. An intricate denim jacket and matching crinoline, for example, was made from discarded 501 jeans, and a mesmerising felt chain gown was made from textile trash; "trashure" was what van der Kemp called the result.

 

"Covid was good in that the world was quiet and actually listened to statements about diversity and sustainability; people were finally taking time to listen to the stories that had to be told," he says. 

Wong Kar Wai's wife is a client of van der Kemp and his meeting with the director led to many talks of a potential collaboration, but in the meantime, a recent discovery of Wong's film 2046 inspired a part of this collection featuring soft florals and jewel tones which reflected the tones of the movie. "I love that there was a sense of nostalgia but also something futuristic about the movie," he says. 

Across town at Schiaparelli, Daniel Roseberry pieced together fabrics from previous collections to create some eclectic pieces of his own, like a denim jacket adorned with gold, surrealist anatomic plaques. Another stunning, fringed number was made from trash bags, a nod to Martin Margiela's trash bag collection; Margiela in turn was also inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli during his time. 

Roseberry's incredible, draped confections continue to impress, this time in vibrant gowns, and even a magnificent jumpsuit. A ruffled, metallic halo around a minidress was revealed to be made from eel leather, showing Roseberry's continued to dedication to experimenting with new fabrics. 

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