Fashion, Style

The Fashion Alphabet

Hello!

For those who are really into art and different aspects of it, you will really appreciate today’s feature. Today I’ll be looking at a designer who was very abstract for her era but helped to showcase the art form of Surrealism in fashion and blow it out of the water. She was no friend of Chanel’s but rather chose to rub shoulders with the likes of Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau, with the heiress Daisy Fellowes and actress Mae West as just some of her famous clients.

Today we have a look at the great designs by…


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Elsa Schiaparelli 


Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer unlike any other,she took initial influence from couturier Paul Poiret, who was renowned for promoting styles that empowered women with clothing had movement for the modern, elegant woman.

Schiaparelli was not trained in the art of pattern making or even garment construction. This meant that her entire process was impulsive and unconventional; she would drape fabric directly on the body, sometimes using herself as the model.

Schiaparelli was one of the preliminary designers to develop the now wildly loved wrap dress in 1930. She was inspired by aprons and went on to produce a design that would flatter all female body types. From this point onward she revolutionized the blend of surrealist art and fashion. She did not only produce clothing but took on fashion as a whole.

Some of her iconic designs include:

In the Winter of 1936/1937 Schiaparelli designed a collection of unique gloves including this pair of claw gloves
In the Winter of 1936/1937 Schiaparelli designed a collection of unique gloves including this pair of claw gloves
In collaboration with her life long friend Salvador Dali, the Shoe Hat was produced in 1937
In collaboration with her life long friend Salvador Dali, the Shoe Hat was produced in 1937
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Bringing her surrealist dreams to life, Schiaparelli designed this large fly brooch for women
One of her "Evening Coats" designed in collaboration with Jean Cocteau in 1937/38
One of her “Evening Coats” designed in collaboration with Jean Cocteau in 1937/38
The Tears Dress, another one of her collaborations with Dalí, an evening gown in pale blue and magenta. The fabric features a trompe l’oeil print of rips and tears. A design created to give the illusion of torn animal flesh worn inside out.
The Tears Dress, another one of her collaborations with Dalí in ’38, an evening gown in pale blue and magenta. The fabric features a trompe l’oeil print of rips and tears. A design created to give the illusion of torn animal flesh worn inside out.
Wallis Simpson the controversial Duchess of Windsor wearing the "Lobster Dress" by Schiaparelli from the same collection with Dali in '38
Wallis Simpson the controversial Duchess of Windsor wearing the “Lobster Dress” by Schiaparelli from the same collection with Dali in ’38
Made of black crepe, with trapunto quilting, in '38 Schiaparelli revealed the appropriately named "Skeleton Dress". It was inspired by the Surrealist fascination with the human body.
Made of black crepe, with trapunto quilting, in ’38 Schiaparelli revealed the appropriately named “Skeleton Dress”. It was inspired by the Surrealist fascination with the human body.
She even made hats - her "Eye Hat" from 1950
She even made hats – her “Eye Hat” from 1950

While she thrived in the thirties, Schiaparelli left Paris for New York in 1940 and when she returned, her modern Surrealist approach had been replaced by the Dior “New Look”. The house of Schiaparelli that had been opened in 1926, struggled in the austerity of the post-war period, and finally closed it’s doors in December 1954. By then,aged 64 Schiaparelli wrote her autobiography and then lived out a comfortable retirement between her Paris apartment and house in Tunisia. She died on 13 November 1973.

It is great to look back and appreciate a look that has influenced the likes of Lady Gaga and more.

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“In difficult times fashion is always outrageous.”

~ Elsa Schiaparelli

Share your thoughts and comments below!

Thanks VB xx

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