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elsa

Elsa Schiaparelli, innovative fashion protagonist during the interwar period, a Surrealist designer that “invented” modern fashion shows. 

Elsa Schiaparelli

 

Schiaparelli’s designs originated in Italy but did not take off until she had moved to Paris. In many of Elsa’s woolen garments one can see how she was inspired by Surrealists such as Salvador Dali and Alberto Giacometti.

the-lobster-dress-by-elsa-schiaparelli-1937

Schiaparelli’s collaboration with Salvador Dali was her biggest accomplishment and allowed her  to excel in the fashion world.

 

Elsa Schiaparelli with Salvador Dalí
Elsa Schiaparelli with Salvador Dalí

Elsa Schiaparelli was also the first designer to include graphics into her clothing, utilize brightly colored zippers on evening gowns.

dali

Schiaparelli.   incorporated themes inspired by contemporaneous events, erotic fantasy, traditional and avant-garde art, and her own psyche into her designs.

Elsa Schiaparelli, 1934. Ph. Man Ray
Elsa Schiaparelli, 1934. Ph. Man Ray

 

Schiaparelli was not afraid to experiment with textures and fabrics  .

Elsa Schiaparelli

She used bold prints with unorthodox imagery and colors, opulent embroideries, outsized and exposed zippers, and distinctive buttons and ornaments ranging from the whimsical to the bizarre—was her medium of creative expression.

Elsa Schiaparelli,

 

Schiaparelli (1890–1973) was an Italian fashion designer. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars.

Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli’s designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dalí and Alberto Giacometti. Her clients included the heiress Daisy Fellowes and actress Mae West.

Elsa Schiaparelli

 

Schiaparelli did not adapt to the changes in fashion following World War II and her business closed in 1954.

 

 Career, 1927–41

After several years of designing and selling her pieces freelance, she opened a small atelier in 1927 in the rue de l’Université and captured the worlds of European and American fashion with her first collections featuring hand-knit sweaters.

Hat of Elsa Schiaparelli
Hat of Elsa Schiaparelli

Her initial designs were geometric, but in November of that year she introduced a black and white trompe l’oeil design patterned with a square collar and red bowknot that caught the fancy of an American buyer and launched her career.

Elsa- Schiaparelli

 

Over the next several years, her offerings evolved from sweaters and sporting wear to a full line of clothing. By 1932, she already had 400 employees producing 7,000 to 8,000 garments per year from expanded quarters at 4 rue de la Paix. These early designs, while more conservative than her later work, incorporated her quirky and imaginative aesthetic.

Elsa Schiaparelli 1934.
Elsa Schiaparelli 1934.

The clothes and accessories that she created from the mid-1930s to 1940, when she was collaborating with the Surrealist artists Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dalí,

vintage Elsa Schiaparelli hat
vintage Elsa Schiaparelli hat

and Leonor Fini and enjoying continued inspiration from her long-term association with photographer Man Ray, represent the apotheosis of her creativity.Further emphasizing the Surrealistic theatricality of the clothes from this period,

Elsa Schiaparelli. An Itialian designer influences by Surrealist art. Her work was highly unusual but very innovative.
Elsa Schiaparelli. An Itialian designer influences by Surrealist art. Her work was highly unusual but very innovative.

Schiaparelli organized some of them into thematic collections—”Stop Look and Listen” in 1935, “Music” and “Paris 1937” in 1937, “Zodiac,” “Pagan,” and “Circus” in 1938, and “Commedia dell’ Arte” in 1939.

Elsa Schiaparelli, autumn/winter 1936
Elsa Schiaparelli, autumn/winter 1936

 

Elsa Schiaparelli

As a result of having lived for an extended period in America, Schiaparelli was particularly attuned to the American fashion industry and the upper-middle-class American woman’s stylistic and utilitarian preferences.

Elsa Schiaparelli

 

This connection served her well financially. While only a few of her clients would wear her most outrageous designs, she could clothe slightly less adventuresome sorts through her many commercial arrangements with American department stores and specialty shops.

Skeleton Evening Dress
Skeleton Evening Dress

Before World War II, as the New York Sun reported in 1940, output from her workshops at 21 Place Vendôme, where she had relocated in 1935, had grown to 10,000 garments per year.

 Elsa Schiaparelli 1938
Elsa Schiaparelli 193 
Elsa Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli, 1955
Schiaparelli, 1955
Schiaparelli Gown, 1948.
Schiaparelli Gown, 1948.
Schiaparelli Robe d'apres-midi 1935
Schiaparelli Robe d’apres-midi 1935
Schiaparelli 1930's
Schiaparelli 1930′ 

 

Elsa Schiaparelli Haute couture
Elsa Schiaparelli Haute couture

 

 

 

 Elsa -Schiaparelli
Evening Dress Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940
Evening Dress Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940
Elsa Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli

 

Elsa Schiaparelli gown, 1953.
Elsa Schiaparelli gown, 1953.
Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli Fashions, 1929
Schiaparelli Fashions, 1929
Elsa Schiaparelli, 1936 The Victoria & Albert Museum
Elsa Schiaparelli, 1936 The Victoria & Albert Museum
Marlene Dietrich in Schiaparelli
Marlene Dietrich in Schiaparelli
Daisy Fellowes, in a Schiaparelli jacket and her Tutti Frutti necklace by Cartier
Daisy Fellowes, in a Schiaparelli jacket and her Tutti Frutti necklace by Cartier

 

 

Elsa Schiaparelli Haute couture, Vogue 1950's photo by Horst P. Horst
Elsa Schiaparelli Haute couture, Vogue 1950’s photo by Horst P. Horst
Elsa Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli

 

 

 

 

 

arge gold-painted cast-metal alloy buttons down the front in the form of circus horses - Buttons designed for Elsa Schiaparelli Circus collection (1938) V museum object
arge gold-painted cast-metal alloy buttons down the front in the form of circus horses – Buttons designed for Elsa Schiaparelli Circus collection (1938) V museum object
Schiaparelli Paris Photo by Willy Maywald, 1950
Schiaparelli Paris Photo by Willy Maywald, 1950
 Elsa Schiaparelli,   Schiaparelli Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli Evening Cape 1938
Schiaparelli Evening Cape 1938

 

Evening gown by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1949
Evening gown by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1949
Schiaparelli Pinafore Dress - 1930 - Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene - Condè Nast Archive
Schiaparelli Pinafore Dress – 1930 – Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene – Condè Nast Archive
Elsa Schiaparelli 1953
Elsa Schiaparelli 1953

 

Elsa Schiaparelli 1935, France.
Elsa Schiaparelli 1935, France.

 

Schiaparelli gown, Haper's Bazaar September 1939
Schiaparelli gown, Haper’s Bazaar September 1939
Christian Lacriox for Schiaparelli Haute Couture, photographed by David Sims for Vogue US September 2013.
Christian Lacriox for Schiaparelli Haute Couture, photographed by David Sims for Vogue US September 2013.

 

Evening Dress Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940
Evening Dress Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940

 

Shiaparelli suits from the 1930s
Shiaparelli suits from the 1930s
Schiaparelli         Schiaparelli
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