Never fit a dress to the body but train the body to fit the dress
Once I came across this phrase, I made my mind to find more about its author and I was shocked, shame on me I haven’t told anything about Elsa Schiaparelli yet.
… Bright, talented, aristocratic, secretive, Elsa had friends everywhere from Paris to Hollywood, she liked the Surrealists and said her word to the world of fashion…
Elsa Schiaparelli belongs to one of the greatest designers of the 20th century. Her fantastic clothes are still admired today. She was born in Italy (Rome) in 1890. Childhood of Elsa was as bright as she was and sometimes she made her parents’ heads go round. It was a shock when Elsa came to a ball in Paris with material just around her body (it was her vision of a dress), everybody was even more shocked when it started to unravel.
When got married when she was only 18-year-old, she gave birth to a baby and afterwards her husband left her. So, she returned to Paris with a young child. In 1928 Elsa had some luck. She created a black sweater with a white bow at the neck and it was shown in the French VOGUE. This time Schiaparelli was shocked, so she hired a group of Armenian women to knit them.
That is how her business started. She rented a small room and started designing apparel for Golf, tennis, and other kinds of sport. Since that time her things were welcomed and often guests in VOGUE.
Since 1930, “Schiap” started experimenting with costume jewellery. She was great in combining unusual materials, her decisions were real breakthroughs. So, she became famous. What I like the most is her incredible buttons (cupids, rabbit’s hooves, clowns), fastenings (butterflies, fruits, vegetables), and hats. Schiaparelli took her inspiration in Surrealism. In 1934 was opened her first shop in London.
Among her clients were Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson and Tallulah Bankhead, but none of them liked her provocative apparel, they bought exceptionally elegant clothes.
In 1937 she created the back-to-front suit, and it was copied by Karl Lagerfield in 1986. Elsa always made accents either on zippers, buttons or colours. She liked bright colours and their unusual combinations. In 1954 and Schiaparelli left her work and wrote her autobiography entitled “My Shocking Life”.
She died in 1973. Her fashion house was re-opened in 1977 and you can still buy things from it. And many designers nowadays still adore Schiaparelli’s style, her desire to be the first one, her strength and her ability to make the headlines!