Somewhere between the virtual and the reality – think reels and real – we had the chance to experience everything ‘Surreal’ at ‘The Shocking World of Elsa Schiaparelli’ exhibition in Paris, currently taking place at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs until January 2023. Elsa Schiaparelli is one of the few and first couturiers who brought fashion and avant-garde artists closer together and her inspiration was surrealism. The exhibition aimed to revolutionize the human experience and it rightfully did so.
Below, we listed five things to remember and learn on the surrealist and avant-garde fashion designer…
1. Her legendary start and inventive bursts lie at the start of the exhibition and revolve around 1927 when she created a revolutionary sweater with a Trompe l’oeil necktie knot. This eventually led to her fame on both sides of the Atlantic.
2. She was loved by artists! The 272 Schiaparelli costumes and accessories on display at the exhibition remind us of the impressive number of collaborations with other surrealist artists such as Jean Cocteau. The latter gave her a drawing that made an impressive back of a very architectural coat for her Fall 1937 collection.
3. Schiaparelli made fun of fashion; therefore, she was snubbed by the fashion industry but loved by artists. Jean Cocteau attended her fashion shows while she asked Salvador Dali to collaborate with her on her most iconic pieces from 1936. These include the Catalan’s erotic silhouettes such as the drawer coat, the tear dress, and a virginal white dress with a lobster in the crotch and which filled an entire room at the exhibition.
4. Exquisitely embroidered by Lesage, a surrealist inspiration illuminates the ‘Phoebus evening cape with the Sun King on a flamboyant pink background.
5. Today, American designer Daniel Roseberry rekindled the house’s Baroque spirit and follows Schiaparelli’s steps in creating much more than just fashionable items.
“I felt helped, encouraged, beyond the material and boring reality of making a dress for sale,” once said the legendary designer about working with artists such as Bebe Berard, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali and photographers like Hoyningen-Huene, Hurst, Cecil Beaton and Man Ray.