Elsa Schiaparelli

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Elsa Schiaparelli
BirthplaceRome, Italy
Fashion designer

Schiaparelli, Elsa

(skyäpärĕl`lē), 1890–1973, French fashion designer, b. Rome. She established a house of couture in Paris that existed from the late 1920s until 1954, and opened a New York showroom in 1949. A flamboyant fashion innovator, she popularized brilliant colors, especially shocking pink, her signature color, and created extravagant, daring, amusing designs (e.g., bouffant gloves ballooning to the shoulders, phosphorescent brooches, and handbags that played tunes when opened). She was the first to use synthetic fabrics and visible zipper fastenings, she created the first wrap dress and the first scarf dress, and she was the first designer to open a boutique offering ready-to-wear clothing. She is also noted for her perfume (notably Shocking, her first and most famous); small hats; angular, wide-shouldered suits and dresses; turbans; walking coats; evening sweaters; halter necklines; cocktail dresses with matching jackets; and scarves. Schiaparelli also collaborated with such artists as CocteauCocteau, Jean
, 1889–1963, French writer, visual artist, and filmmaker. He experimented audaciously in almost every artistic medium, becoming a leader of the French avant-garde in the 1920s.
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 and DalíDalí, Salvador
, 1904–89, Spanish painter. At first influenced by futurism, in 1924 Dalí came under the influence of the Italian painter de Chirico and by 1929 he had become a leader of surrealism.
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See her autobiography, Shocking Life (1954); biographies by P. White (1986) and M. Secrest (2014); D. E. Blum, Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli (2003).

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