ELSA SCHIAPARELLI Biography - Socialites, celebrities and People in the fashion industry


Biography » socialites celebrities and people in the fashion industry » elsa schiaparelli


Name: Elsa Schiaparelli                                                             
Born: 10 September 1890                                                             
Died: 13 November 1973                                                             
Elsa Schiaparelli (September 10, 1890 – November 13, 1973) was a Parisian         
fashion designer of the 1920s and 1930s. She was born in Rome, Italy, of Italian   
and Egyptian heritage. She was a great-niece of Giovanni Schiaparelli, who         
discovered the canals of Mars.                                                     
Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the most influential clothing designers of the 20th   
Century. Schiaparelli opened her first salon, "pour le Sport," in 1927, and as     
the name indicates specialized in sportswear. In 1931, her design of a divided     
tennis skirt for star player Lili de Alvarez shocked the staid tennis world when   
Alvarez wore what was the forerunner of shorts at the Wimbledon Championships.     
Schiaparelli became famous for her black knit sweaters with a white bowtie         
pattern sewn into the sweater. She had a flair for the unusual and even hired       
Salvador Dalí to design fabric, producing a white dress with a lobster print.     
Schiaparelli was the first to use shoulder pads, animal print fabrics (in 1947),   
and zippers dyed the same colors as the fabrics. She is also well known for her     
surrealist designs of the 1930s, especially her hats, including the Dalí design   
resembling a giant shoe and one a giant lamb chop, both which were famously worn   
by the Franco-American Singer sewing machine heiress Daisy Fellowes, who was one   
of Schiaparelli's best clients and who owned a pink gemstone that inspired the     
color shocking pink. She collaborated with many surrealist artists, Salvador       
Dalí, Leonor Fini, Jean Cocteau, and Alberto Giacometti, between 1936 and 1939.   
She designed a number of perfumes in addition to clothing; the first and most       
famous of which, named Shocking, was designed in 1936 by the surrealist artist,     
Leonor Fini. Shocking is famous less for the fragrance itself than for its         
packaging: besides a box colored a shocking pink, the bottle itself was in the     
shape of a woman's torso, based on the curvaceous body of one of Schiaparelli's     
clients, film star Mae West. For West, she designed costumes for the film Every     
Day's a Holiday (1938). She also designed Zsa Zsa Gabor's costumes for the film     
Moulin Rouge (1952). In 1935 Schiaparelli moved to a salon overlooking the Place   
Vendôme in Paris. Her output slowed by World War II and with title of             
trendsetter going to younger designers such as Christian Dior. In 1954, her         
couture house declared bankruptcy and she moved to the United States.               
Schiap, as she was known to her friends, also designed costume jewelry. She was     
known for her vivid use of color and juxtaposition of shapes and textures.         
Schiap collectors seek Schiaparelli clothing, including lambs wool or fur coats,   
scarves, hats, shoes, perfume bottles, advertisements by Vertes and more.           
She was briefly married to Count William de Wendt de Kerlor (1883-), a Franco-Swiss 
psychic medium once described as "a persuasive but inconstant Theosophist", and     
moved with him to Greenwich Village in New York City, where she sold clothing       
designed by the French couturier Paul Poiret. They had one child, Maria Luisa       
Yvonne Radha, known as Gogo, who was born in New York City in 1919.