Tuesday, July 17, 2007

elsa schiaparelli

the early twentieth century was dominated by women who forever changed the way women will dress. names like chanel, vionnet, gres are regarded as no less than revolutionaries who freed women from the constriction of the corset. there was one woman however who seemed to have the most fun out of all those great women. her name was elsa schiaparelli. born in rome and for a while lived in the united states, schiaparelli followed the steps of worth and became one of the non french couturiers to be established and loved by paris at the same time. in elsa's time she would probably have been galliano, gaultier, mcqueen, gareth pugh and rei kawakubo rolled into one. during a time of modesty and propriety, schiaparelli shocked the establishment by collaborating with avant garde artists such as dali and jean cocteau who's prints and illustrations she had decorated by the embroidery house of lesage into her couture collections. poiret might have been the first showman of fashion, but schiaparelli was definately its first showwoman. there are many firsts that belongs to elsa; she was the first to use shoulder pads, animal prints, and she was the first to add whimsical touches inspired by the surrealist movement. some of her most famous examples was a dali designed hat that resembled a giant high heeled shoe, and her famous desk suit with pockets made to look like drawers. although the name schiaparelli might not ocassionaly used in today's fashion verbatim, her influence resonates to many of todays designers, particularly john galliano, who has channeled elsa's creative whimsy on more than one occasion for his dior collections, with one, his spring/summer 1999 dior couture collection, directly referenced schiaparelli and coucteau's collaboration. its been a long time since a woman commanded such attention from the fashion world, i think someone within the veins of schiaparelli would breath such a burst of new air in fashion. but then again, there would be no one quite like schiaparelli.

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