Elsa Schiaparelli is, an Italian-born fashion designer who established an important couture house in Paris. She was famous for her Surrealist fashions of the 1930s and her witty accessories, such as a purse in the shape of a telephone.

Schiaparelli ran away from her upper-class family and worked in the United States briefly as a translator. Then in the late 1920s, she settled in Paris, where she opened her couture house.

In January 1927, Elsa launched her first collection, "Presentation n.1", at her home on number 20, Rue de L'Université. Notable for its modernity, the knitwear collection was met with great success.
In January 1927, Elsa launched her first collection, "Presentation n.1", at her home on number 20, Rue de L'Université. Notable for its modernity, the knitwear collection was met with great success.
Elsa slowly joined the creative circle of artists and met the main representatives of surrealism - Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau. Together, the trio spouted crazy ideas that Elsa expertly transferred to fabric, creating unthinkable, scandalous wardrobe items such as hats in the form of a lamb chop, aspirin pills, shoes or phones, jewelry made from dried beetles, real feathers, stationery, medicines, and candy.
Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli
The lobster dress
Schiaparelli Jewelry
  • By 1935 she was a leader in haute couture and was quickly expanding into jewelry, perfume, cosmetics, lingerie, and swimsuits. Her designs were noted for combining eccentricity with simplicity and trim neatness with dazzling color.
  • In 1947 Schiaparelli's new color, "shocking pink," was a sensation in the fashion world.
She escaped to New York during World War II and opened a branch in 1949 to mass-produce suits, dresses, and coats of her design. Along with designer Christian Dior, she was instrumental in the worldwide commercialization of Parisian fashion.
In 1954, she finally left the fashion world. After the closure of the Schiaparelli Fashion House, the former fashion designer published her autobiography titled 'Shocking Life.' She died on November 13, 1973, at the age of 83, in Paris, twenty years after the release of her last collection. She was buried in a "shocking" pink silk suit.
After its closure in 1954, the house of Schiaparellilay dormant until 2006, when it was purchased by Italian businessman Diego Della Valle, the founder of Tod's group. Six years later, the Maison reopened its doors in its original Parisian address at 21 Palace Vendome. The following year in July 2013 the, the Maison stories designer Christian Lacroix create the first couture collection for the renovated house.
In April 2019, Daniel Roseberry became the Maison New Artistic director. Born in 1985 in Dallas, Texas, where he was also raised, Roseberry almost enrolled in the ministry to become an Anglican priest but instead moved to New York to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer. During his tenure at Schiaparell, Roseberry has resurrected some of the Malson's most influential codes while paying homage to Elsa's famous love of Surrealism.
At the same time, he has subverted many of those same codes, contributing a new aesthetic vocabulary with his frequent use of gold jewelry and hardware, repurposed denim, and molded leather and metal breastplates. Like Elsa herself, who was known for her technical innovations, Roseberry is particularly interested in experimenting with new and unlikely fabrics, and pushes the boundaries of what couture can-or should-be.
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Today, the Maison continues to dress prominent figures for historical moments all over the worid. Most recently, the Maison dressed Lady Gaga in custom Schlaparell for President Joseph Biden's inauguration ceremony; Beyoncé for the 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony; and model Bella Hadid for the Cannes Film Festival. Collectively, these names representshe next generation of Schiaparelli muses- women who shape not only the culture, but the conversation around it.
Discover more photos from the exhibition "Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli" at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
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