Elsa Schiaparelli's inspiration

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) is an Italian-born designer and is one of the most influential designers between the two World Wars. Together with Coco Chanel she dominated the fashion world.
Schiaparelli designed for the modern woman and had a close relationship with the Parisian artistic community of the 1920s and 1930s.

Schiaparelli viewed clothing as a type of architecture and believed it should be closely connected to the frame of the body, just as a building's form is drawn from its structural skeleton.
Schiaparelli's silhouettes were frequently described as having a strict neatness, with angles replacing feminine curves.

Her creations were worn by actresses like Mae West and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Zsa Zsa Gabor in Moulin Rouge (source)
Mae West in Every day's a Holiday  (Source

Between 1936 and 1939 Schiaparelli collaborated with a number of Surrealist artsist, including Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau, and Alberto Giacometti. She translated many of Surrealism's precepts into imaginative and often provocative designs. She translated the basic elements of modern art, simplicity, continuity of line, and contrast, into wearable art. She chose to modify the design of a hat or a sweater as other modern artists modified forms of painting, sculpture, and literature. While Marcel Duchamp shocked the public by displaying a urinal in an art gallery, Schiaparelli shook up the fashion world by turning a shoe into a hat.



Collaboration  with Salvador Dalí (source)

The bowknot sweater is the design that secured her fame in 1927. First time that a designer used the trompe-l'œil in a garment.


Source: The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Although the House of Schiaparelli closed in 1954, her groundbreaking ideas continue to influence the fashion world of today, where her designs have been continuously imitated and adapted.

Text source:  Blum, Dilys E. Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiparelli. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2003.
Elsa Schiaparelli's inspiration Elsa Schiaparelli's inspiration Reviewed by Patricia Munster on 2:26:00 AM Rating: 5

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