7 April 2012

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973)

Elsa was born in Rome,  spent her early life in Boston and New York and in 1922 moved to Paris. Her first collection followed in 1929.  Her clothes were wildly eccentric but always sophisticated. She hired Dali, Berard and Cocteau to design fabric and accessories. Cubism and surrealism influenced her designs..In 1933 she introduced the Pagoda sleeves. Elsa used tweed to make evening dresses. Schiaparelli embroidered zodiac signs onto her clothes and handbags..Two of her most famous hats were made in shapes of ice cream cones and lamb cutlets. She was the first tha used the ''Shocking Pink'' and promoted it vigorously. She also used colourful zippers and created bias-cut dresses. Elsa had a great success and in 1949 opened a branch in New York. Her clients included the Duchess of Windsor, Katherine Hepburn and Marlene DietrichChanel once called Schiaparelli  ''that Italian  artist who makes clothes''. Elsa was one of the most innovative and influential designers of the 20th Century.

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