Elsa Schiaparelli couldn’t sew and she didn’t sketch, yet she stormed Paris fashion in the 1920s and 1930s. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars.
While her contemporaries Chanel and Vionnet set the period’s standards of taste and beauty in fashion design, Schiaparelli flouted convention in the pursuit of a more idiosyncratic style. Her designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists and she Invented the power shoulders, the wedge shoes, the jumpsuit, and the color shocking pink and inspired a generation of unconventional couturiers. Of her contemporaries she described Chanel as “that milliner”, while Chanel once dismissed her rival as ‘that Italian artist who makes clothes”.
Elsa Schiaparelli, 1930’s via
Comtesse de Zoppola in Elsa Schiaparelli, photographed by Edward Steichen, 1931 via
Elsa Schiaparelli & Salvador Dali, Shoe-Hat, 1937/ 1938, wearing by Gala. Photo by André Caillet Fils, c. 1930s via
A model in a Schiaparelli design, 1934 via
The actress Ginger Rogers wearing Schiaparelli’s black velvet “Galyak” coat, 1937 via
Elsa Schiaparelli, dress and silver gloves, 1939 via