Elsa Schiaparelli at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

 

 

Coat, 1937 (rayon, silk & gilded metallic thread embroidery) by Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA, USA
Coat, 1937 (rayon, silk & gilded metallic thread embroidery) by Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA, USA

 

Bridgeman is thrilled to be licensing images from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, like this exciting collection of women’s wear and accessories donated to the museum by fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli before her death in 1973.

Schiaparelli’s striking pieces (the notorious “lobster dress” co-created by Salvador Dali was worn by Wallis Simpson); her collaborations with a circle of famed artistic friends; and her “shocking” about-town persona in 1930s Paris have made her a figure of lasting influence.  The museum exhibited a retrospective survey of the designer's career featuring their collection in 2004.

Through the mutual inspiration of her friendships with Dali, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau (who contributed to the back of the coat at left) and other international artists, Schiaparelli pushed the boundaries of expression through dress: a shoe as a hat; zippers exposed for the first time; trompe l’oeil and Surrealist images on fabric.

Italian-born, she found success in New York and France, where the House of Schiaparelli rivaled Chanel’s, and boasted a progressive clientele that included movie stars like Mae West and Society ladies buying haute couture for the first time “off the rack.”

Highly unusual, inventive, and modern, Schiaparelli’s work is at once bound to the decades between the wars, and to the present in ubiquitous touches present in all of our closets. After all, we have her to thank (or blame) for shoulder pads!

Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada will be the focus of a Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition at The Met.

To learn more about the The Philadelphia Museum of Art collections now available for licensing through Bridgeman, click here.

 

Dinner Dress, Summer 1938 (silk crepe, silver thread embroidery, sequins & pearls) by Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA, USA
Dinner Dress, Summer 1938 (silk crepe, silver thread embroidery, sequins & pearls) by Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA, USA

 

 

Mae West in
Mae West in "Every Day's a Holiday," with costumes designed by Elsa Schiaparelli. Roger-Viollet, Paris

 


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