Thursday, May 26, 2011

SHOCKING !


-Is the title of Elsa Schiaparelli´s memoires, published in 1955. A very funny and fascinating story. I was so lucky that I´ve got this book  from one of my good acquaintances during my exhibition last year. 

Elsa Schiaparelli (1896-1973), born in Italy, was together with Madeleine Vionnet two of the most prominent and influential couturiers of the 1930´s. 

At 22 the adventurous Elsa left Italy to work in London. On her way she attended a Ball in Paris, where she created her first dress out of a piece of fabric, that she pinned together.
She met her husband in England and got married. They went to USA where she had a child, but since was left. She started to work in a shop, where she met different artist, who she eventually followed back to Europe.

Back in Paris she started her own bussiness encouraged by Paul Poiret, but had to close it in 1926.

The following year she launched a new collection that included a very  sensational sweater and her career took off from there.

She liked to provoke and worked closely together with artists like Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali.
Her collections was inspired by different themes, like circus, astrology etc.

Her great rival at that time, Coco Chanel described her as:- "the artist that makes clothes".

She introduced the zipper in Haute couture, experimented with new fabrics and invented the colour Shocking Pink and named one of her most popular perfumes Shocking. The flacon was inspired by the shape of the american actress, Mae West.


During the second world war she went to USA and gave lectures. When she came back, fashion had changed. It was the time of Christian Dior´s New look.
She did not adapt and struggled until she closed her house in 1954. The same year as Chanel had her comeback.

But she left an everlasting influence on fashion, designing without restric- tions she has inspired such designers as Yves Saint Laurent, Gaultier and Galliano.