Elsa Schiaparelli was a fashion designer who created women’s clothing in the late 1920's and the 1930’s. She was born in Italy, but had a storefront in Paris. The works of artists from the Dada, and Surrealist movements heavily influenced her work. Coco Chanel, her rival, famously called her “that Italian artist who makes clothes”. Her clothing was whimsical as well as innovative. She was the first to use a zipper on clothing, molded Lucite buttons, and “Shocking Pink”. (A color synonymous with female youth these days.) She had a bow knitted in a sweater for a trompe de l'oeil effect. She did go on to collaborate with Salvador Dali to create a shoe hat, and a lobster dress. Jean Cocteau worked with her to create wonderfully timeless embroidery designs. She also worked with Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, Alberto Giacometti, and Pablo Picasso. Her clients included Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson, and Mae West among many others. Just after the Germans invaded Paris in 1940, she closed her doors, and moved to New York City. She was both Jewish, and part of the circle of artists in Paris. These were not very fitting qualities with the Nazi regime. After the war she returned to Paris but her label never regained it's previous status. In 1954 she finally gave it all up and stopped designing. Gone but not forgotten. Unlike many of the design houses of her time, her line has not yet been revived. The Metropolitan Museum Of Art in New York exhibited her designs along with Miuccia Prada, in an exhibition called Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. So that revitalization may not be long in coming. Do you think it should be revived? Because she was so heavily influenced by the artists of her day is it even possible to recreate her label?
Collaboration with Jean Cocteau
Lobster Dress collaboration with Salvador Dali
trompe de l'oeil Bow Sweater
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