Monday, March 31, 2014

The Schiaparelli Spirit


I love things that are different, prints that are inspired and push the boundaries of "taste".  The Italian artist tuned designer Elsa Schiaparelli was a woman that I admire in fashion. Her work is thought provoking, out of the box and was on another level for her time, of any time really.  Her creative peak hit in the 1930's where she turned her version of surrealism into style and tangible clothing and accessories. I adore that all of her work can be considered 'statement pieces'. CoCo CHANEL said Elsa was, “the Italian artist who makes clothes.”  It has been alleged that they were fashion rivals, but they were confirmed polar opposites by way of personal taste, design aesthetic and style. 

Schiaparelli also collaborated with a the famous Artist Salvatore Dali during her career.
 Shoe Hat (modelled by Dali's wife Gala)
Tear Dress 1938

She was a very inspired designer but her business would not last. She closed her doors  December 13, 1954. I will feature her full biography in another post but the point of the 'Schiaparelli Spirit'  blog is based on a dress that I recently acquired for my eBoutique Evolution Vintage.

A white polyester, hand made gown that was also hand embellished with a peacock print in red, c. 1970's. The beading and sequin are perfection as well. I was left wondering who was the woman who did this labor intensive, inspired work on this dress? where did she wear it?

It reminded me in an abstract way of Schiaparelli's famous "Lobster Dress", another collaboration with Dali in 1937.

The daring woman who rocked this Lobster gown was Wallis Simpson (photographed by Cecil Beaton). This image was taken shortly before she married Edward VIII in Chateau de Cande. Her marriage to the royal was such a matter of controversy at the time.  Her future spouse abdicated his throne in 1936 saying it was so he could "marry the woman I love". He received title of the Duke of Windsor in lieu of KING of England.

Will it take a controversial women like Wallis to wear this amazingly unique gown? Or someone with the Schiaparelli spirit?

Is that woman YOU?

Dress Details:
Era: 1970's
Fabric: Polyester (Stretch)
Size:  Bust: 34" (with stretch 2"+)
Waist (empire): 30"
Hip: 43"+
Length: 53"
*Hand constructed and hand beaded. 3 white beads hanging from the peacock's chin. Metal back zipper. There is enough hem fabric to make this gown longer and there is extra "strap" to adjust them to a longer length. All beading is intact. The garment is not lined.
Price:  $300

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