Thinking back to the original Hunger Games film adaptations, the extravagant and bizarre fashion sported by the residents of the glitzy Capitol of Panem stands out as one of the most memorable visual elements of the series. And at the premiere of the series’ new prequel film The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in Berlin last Sunday evening, Euphoria actor Hunter Schafer channeled that quintessential energy with the help of a dress featuring individual hand-painted elements.
Comprised of hundreds of hand-cut, organically shaped pieces adhered to a stretchy crochet net slip, essentially creating a wearable mosaic work (sans grout, obviously), the dress was designed and created by fashion house Schiaparelli’s creative director Daniel Roseberry. While one can marvel at the thick, streaky paint strokes dragged across each individual “puzzle” piece up close, the dress shards come together to form an Expressionist-style female nude figure viewed from afar. Each puzzle piece is also embellished with rhinestones, ensuring that the dress twinkles at every angle. In an interview with British Vogue, Roseberry alluded to Lucian Freud’s impasto brushwork as an inspiration for the garment’s appearance.
While some art-world naysayers may scoff at the bridging of fine art and haute couture, Schiaparelli has something of a legacy in this department, dabbling in Surrealist and avant-garde fashion since before World War II. Brand pioneer Elsa Schiaparelli was deeply embedded in the Surrealist and Dada art scenes while she resided in New York City during the early 1920s, entwined in the creative circle of Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Alfred Stieglitz. When Schiaparelli first opened her atelier in 1927, she made a name for herself with trompe l’oeil visuals starting with sweaters that imitated the look of a lavallière blouse and leveling up to a collaboration with Salvidor Dalí that yielded humorously incongruent pieces such as the iconic shoe-shaped Hat (1937) and the Lobster Skirt (1937).
Rest assured, the fans ate it up and called the dress a museum-worthy work of art. One Instagram user went so far as to inform Schafer that she’s “serving motherquake magnitude measuring 9.9 on the cunterscale” in the comments section of the actor’s fit post from the premiere. It’s worth noting that no picket lines were crossed and Schafer as well as her fellow cast members are permitted to promote the film due to a “SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement” in spite of the ongoing workers’ strike.