It wouldn’t be the Monday morning of Paris couture week unless Schiaparelli used its runway show to produce a viral internet moment.

Last year, Kylie Jenner took her place in the front row wearing a giant hyper-realistic lion head attached to her chest. People went nuts because they thought it was real taxidermy and promoted trophy hunting. It wasn’t, obviously. It was made from sculpted foam, wool and faux fur.

This year, the spotlight didn’t belong to a celebrity, even though Zendaya did turn up with blunt bangs (gasp) and Jennifer Lopez, gearing up to promote her new film “This Is Me: Now … A Love Story,” arrived with a new hairdo of her own. It was a wet look bob, if you’re wondering, which she wore with Schiaparelli sunglasses that had sculpted gold eyebrows and lenses of opaque precious stone. (Fashion can’t always be fabulous and practical.)

No, this year social media was abuzz thanks to a runway cameo by a giant robot baby. The hot new accessory, worn on one hip by the model Maggie Maurer, was a bedazzled toddler-shaped figure made of silver and green electronic panels, pearl-encrusted switch boards, broken cables, wires and thousands of shimmering Swarovski crystals. Ms. Maurer, wearing an adventurous all-white racer vest, billowing combat pants and cowboy boots, clutched its little encrusted hand to her heart as she sashayed down the catwalk.

So what did it all mean?

The Schiaparelli creative director Daniel Roseberry, a Texan, had threaded ideas of the Wild West and venturing into the unknown throughout the collection. Mr. Roseberry, always one to tap into the fashion house’s surrealist DNA, also explained in his show notes that Giovanni Schiaparelli — the uncle of the houses’s founder Elsa Schiaparelli — was an astronomer who named many of the seas and continents on Mars and was also the inventor of the term “Martian.”

“He inadvertently began our modern fascination with creatures from out there,” the show notes read. “The show offers a series of profiles both familiar and not — part human, part something else. And, therefore, totally Schiaparelli.”

In a preview, Mr. Roseberry said that the robot baby was actually his ode to the Ripley character in the “Alien” movies, who (spoiler alert) has an alien child. So there you go.

This isn’t the first time fashion has toyed with the idea of robot babies — and has incurred the ire of some who dislike any insinuation that children can be portrayed as fashion accessories. In 2021, Frank Ocean turned heads when he cuddled one called Cody on the red carpet at the Met Gala. The musician had dyed his hair lime green to match the face of his doll, which nodded, blinked and waved at fans.

Mr. Roseberry’s version didn’t come with such bells and whistles. Nor does it have pockets or a shoulder strap, nor is it likely to ever go on sale. But that’s probably for the best. After all, in the 21st-century, one is supposed to buy designer bags, not designer babies. Right?


Additional reporting by Vanessa Friedman in Paris.

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