It’s always a moment when Beyoncé makes a surprise appearance. But when the woman who now has the most Grammys of all time stepped onto the stage in a custom Schiaparelli couture black leather off-the-shoulder ruched dress with gloves that had trompe l’oeil gold fingernails, time may have stopped. The label’s creative director and the man behind that leather mini, Daniel Roseberry, may not be the most recognizable name from last night’s Grammys, but he is responsible for some of the most buzzed-about looks of the night.
The two have a connection that goes even deeper than the red carpet: Both hail from the great state of Texas. “I think last night was a big night for Texas,” Roseberry tells BAZAAR.com. “Beyoncé has always given so many Texans permission to dream of doing something bigger and dreaming bigger.” And just what was it like outfitting Queen B for a seminal moment in her career? “I get goosebumps just hearing that [she was wearing one of our designs],” he says. “When a moment like that happens to a global icon like Beyoncé, if you’re a designer, ultimately you are working in the service industry—this is about us as a maison supporting an icon … and all you can do is hope that you rise to the occasion. It’s in humility that we enter into that moment, and it’s such an honor.”
The moment was years in the making, according to Roseberry. “Zerina Akers, who is Beyoncé’s stylist, the first year I was designing, she walked into the room and was so on board with what was happening at Schiaparelli. Beyoncé gave us our first major moment. We’re so grateful to them both for supporting us and the vision for the house, from the first collection.”
While Beyoncé took the collective breath away, the mark of a designer with true red-carpet clout is when his dress can elevate a newcomer with little name recognition to best-dressed status. This is the power of the red carpet in building a star—nothing says star quite like “a strapless white silk crepe dress featuring a plunging neckline with draped detail and an airy cumulus silk taffeta stole,” which is how the couture gown Noah Cyrus wore to the Grammys was aptly described in a press release.
“Noah is so cool, and we’re committed to supporting emerging talent, and I’m happy to be dressing someone who is dressing for themselves,” Roseberry explains of the standout look. The singer may be best known as Miley’s little sister, but when photos hit the wires of the younger Cyrus in his dreamy creation, it was all about her.
As awards season is well underway, Schiaparelli enjoyed previous buzz at the Golden Globes last month—sort of—when Cate Blanchett released an image of herself in a Schiaparelli couture creation days before the actual event. “It’s so funny because we were going to be dressing [Blanchett] two weeks ago, and she released an image a few days before the Globes, and the image had a moment that transcended the parameters of the red carpet.”
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So what does that mean in the curious year of 2021? “Beyond the rules and regulations of a live experience, and these awkward semi-live experiences, people are wanting something that’s visually and emotionally engaging. So whether it’s Beyoncé onstage having a true live moment or Kim [Kardashian] at home, I think you’re beholden to the intensity and the quality of the design. It’s contingent on that to break through the chatter, and I keep thinking about wanting to serve people a level of intensity and joyfulness that feels expressive. That’s the way people want to feel about fashion, it’s about having fun,” he explains.
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Roseberry was named creative director of the storied brand, founded by its namesake Elsa Schiaparelli in 1927, in April 2019 following the departure of Bertrand Guyon. He had spent a decade with Thom Browne as the head of the men’s and women’s collections before making the leap to the couture house. At the time, the designer remarked, “Schiaparelli was a master of the modern; her work reflected the chaos and hope of the turbulent era in which she lived. Today, we find ourselves asking similarly big, identity-shaping questions of our own: What does art look like? What is identity? How do we dress for the end of the world?” And while the world did seem like it might end before his first year at the brand was up, it didn’t quite yet. Instead, Roseberry made a name for himself with stunning, surrealist, playful, bold collections that embody the style, humor, and appreciation for the fine art of the house’s founder, starting with his well-received debut collection for fall 2019 couture.
As for how the designer has been managing to continue creating during a pandemic, he says, “I hope with some small measure of dignity and grace. It’s so much trial and error. It’s been so encouraging, because we’re a smaller house when it comes to resources and budgets, and COVID has leveled the playing field in a lot of ways. It’s allowed us to have a loud voice and not a whisper when it comes to the collections in the context of a fashion week.
“Personally, it’s been very energizing. I know everyone has their own response. I’ve been living a monastic lifestyle in Paris, going from home to work, and creating these collections has been a refuge and an escape for me, and very clarifying. I feel like there’s a boldness and a confidence coming through since the summer,” he adds.
It is translating beautifully—so much so that suddenly the red carpet, one that’s been virtual more often than not lately, suddenly feels exciting again.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.