May 23, 2012

Elsa Schiaparelli and one of my all-time favorite dresses...

A little about Elsa first...Couturier Elsa Schiaparelli was well before her time with her avant-garde style.  As an artist and a dreamer, she created amazing collections such as ‘Musical Instruments’, ‘Butterflies’, ‘Pagan Collection’, ‘Astrological Collection’, and the ‘Circus’. Clowns, skeleton bones  and trapeze artists decorated her garments with sayings like ‘Attention à la peinture’ (wet paint). With her anything was possible and the sky was the limit with her creativeness.  It was Schiaparelli who started  ‘ready-to-wear’ clothing and designed  ‘boutique’ clothing and accessories.

Schiaparelli gathered ideas from the world around her setting her apart from the Art Deco fashion scene. In the 1920s, she started helping design sportswear for women and then went to bold day and evening wear. By 1935 she was a leader in haute couture
She also had lines of jewelry, scarves, handbags, belts, buttons, hats, shoes and perfume.

Her artistic and original ideas attracted artists Jean Cocteau, Bébé Bérard, Salvador Dali , Vertès and Van Dongen.  Movie stars desired to wear her clothing such as, Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert,  Marlene Dietrich and Lauren Bacall.  Mae West posed for a statue that Schiaparelli used as a model to create costumes for her. The statue was the inspiration for her perfume bottle design for ‘Shocking’.

In 1938 she designed her 'Circus' collection and my favorite, the 'skeleton' dress. She and famous artist, Salvador Dali, had become good friends and he had helped in designing some of the prints for her clothing line: 
Elsa's skeleton dress from the 'Circus' collection 1938

Silk crêpe, trapunto quilting, cotton wadding - Made in Paris
Elsa coat 1938 'Circus' collection
1938 Circus collection 'Tears' print by Dali
Elsa Schiaprelli showroom 'Circus' collection 1938


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