Saturday, May 8, 2010
Fashion Designer Spotlight: Schiaparelli
In Lia's Fashion Designers Spotlight this week is Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973). Schiaparelli, a designer who reached the peak of her career around the 1920-40s, is one of my favorite designers of all time if not the absolute favorite. One thing you may notice about her website is that it is PINK. One would even call it "shocking pink" - a term that Schiaparelli invented, coined, and embodied perfectly. Now as you probably have noticed, I love pink. My site is pink. My hair is pink. Even my dorm room is pink! So of course, I idolize a woman who could come up with a pink so incredible as to be referred to as "shocking."
In addition to that amazing factoid, Schiaparelli was a fabulously creative designer. In the era of Poiret and Chanel - Chanel was her great rival at the time - Schiaparelli was in a category completely her own. She had many firsts: the wraparound dress; the use of brand new man-made fibers; adding brightly colored visible plastic zippers to her clothing; sewing on any notion that caught her eye: buttons shaped like hands, peanuts, bumblebees, and rams' heads; light-up plastic doo-dads, and other ephemera. Schiaparelli saw herself as an artist, creating art, rather than a fashion designer, creating clothing. This idea led her to collaborate on clothing with other artists, such as Christian Bérard, Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dali, who painted her legendary lobster dress and helped her design the shoe hat. Her innovations broke down the wall dividing art and fashion and she pioneered many ideas still used in avant-garde design. She was bold and unapologetically out-of-the-box.
"“In difficult times fashion is always outrageous.” - Elsa Schiaparell