Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 - 1973) was an Italian fashion designer whose couture house was based in Paris.  Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is one of the most prominent figures in fashion.
 hiaparelli considered designing an art rather than a profession.  She was influenced by, and collaborated with, avant garde artists of her day: Salvador DalíAlberto Giacometti, Jean Cocteau and others.  Cubist, Surrealist, Art Déco, and Futurist inspirations can be seen in her work. 

Elsa began designing in 1915, with help from famous couturier Paul Poiret.  Her clothes were individualistic and eccentric.  She held that good taste was less important than creativity, outrageousness and fun.  The woman who was attracted to her designs believed that wearing attention-seeking clothes made a woman chic.

Most of her ensembles were easy to wear, but featured outrageous embellishments.  Schiaparelli revisited various favored themes: military, zodiac, and the circus.  She could, however, also produce conservative clothing such as her severely-cut trouser suits and plain black dresses. 

She favored black-with-white, and in 1936, she launched a new color, known as “Shocking Pink,” which was forever identified with her couture house (it was the name given to her signature fragrance).

Unlike Chanel, she did not adapt to changing fashions after World War II and closed her business in 1954.

'Til next time.

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