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четверг, 26 мая 2011 г.

"Shocking Elsa" - Elsa Schiaparelli

Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars.
 Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli's designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dalí , Jean Cocteau and Alberto Giacometti.
Schiaparelli was born at the Palazzo Corsini in Rome.
Her mother was a Neopolitan aristocrat and her father a renowned scholar and curator of medieval manuscripts.
 Her father, Celestino, was Dean of the University of Rome and an authority on Sanskrit. She was a niece of astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who discovered the canali of Mars, and she spent hours with him studying the heavens.She studied philosophy at the University of Rome, during which she published a book of sensual poems that shocked her conservative family. Schiaparelli was sent to a convent until she went on hunger strike and at the age of 22 accepted a job in London as a nanny. Elsa led a refined life with a certain amount of luxury provided by her parents’ wealth and high social status. She believed, however, that this luxury was stifling to her art and creativity and so she removed herself from the “lap of luxury” as quickly as possible. Schiaparelli moved first to New York City and then to Paris, combining her love of art and design to become a surrealist couturier.
En route to London, Schiaparelli was invited to a ball in Paris. Having no ballgown, she bought some dark blue fabric, wrapped it around herself and pinned it in place.
When only 18, she married William de Wendt de Kerlor, a theosophist. She remained with him as he drifted around Europe, eventually reaching America, but he abandoned her when her daughter was born. She then returned to Paris, a young woman with a child to support. She tried to get a job with Paul Poiret  and Maggy Rouff, unsuccessfully. However in 1928, she had some luck. She had drawn a design of a black sweater with a white trompe l'oeil bow at the neck. Mainbocher admired it and had it shown in the French VOGUE.
Anita Loos purchased on, and a buyer for a New York store ordered 40 with skirts to go along with them. Elsa was surprised at the success of her sweater and recruited a group of Armenian women to knit them. She bought some good cheap material for the skirts, and rounded up another group of women to make these.
"Schiap" was in business.
She experimented with costume jewellery. The early 30's saw Schiaparelli consolidated techniques, bringing together expert craftsmen for couture. A skilled atelier meant a finished garment and excellent construction following her genius as a designer. She sniffed out unusual materials like glass-like cellophane giving an illusion of transparency.
Schiaparelli was the first to use shoulder pads, hot pink, calling it SHOCKING PINK ,in 1947, animal print fabrics, and zippers dyed the same colors as the fabrics. She is also well known for her surrealist designs of the 1930's, especially her hats, including one 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.
In 1934 Elsa Schiaparelli opened a shop in London and also moved her Paris salon to 21 place Vendome. In the window of her boutique she put Dali's handiwork along with other surrealist works, and it was a great attraction to people on their way to the Ritz Hotel nearby.
Her shocking clothes seldom offended any of her clients.
Mrs Reginald Fellowes, Wallis Simpson later Duchess of Windsor, Millicent Rogers and Lady Elsie Mendl were among her elegant clients. It was even said that Daisy Fellowes managed to carry the lamp chop hat off.
She dressed many movie stars both on and off the screen, including Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson and Tallulah Bankhead.
Her frenzy with Mae West, led to the actress's hour-glass figure being used for Schiap's perfume bottle for "Shocking".
The 30's were "Schiap's" decade. Whatever she made, made headlines.
Schiaparelli was an innovative woman and fashion designer. She had a lot of "firsts" in the fashion industry. Her career began with her introduction of graphic knitwear to the world of fashion with knit patterns and emblems. These led to her fanciful prints of body parts, food, and many more unusual themes. She was the first to use brightly colored zippers, appearing first on her sportswear in 1930 and again five years later on her evening dresses.
Not only was she the first to use brightly colored zippers, but she was also the first to have them dyed to match the material used in her garments. She was the first to create and use fanciful buttons that looked more like brooches. They came in the shapes of peanuts, bees, and even ram’s heads.
In Parisian fashion, she invented culottes, introduced Arab breeches, embroidered shirts, wrapped turbans, pompom-rimmed hats, barbaric belts, the “wedge,” a soled shoe that would trend through the 20th century and into the next, and mix-and-match sportswear, the concept of which would not be fully recognized for another forty to fifty years.
While her innovations in fashion design were numerous, it was her creation of the runway show as we know it today that was most influential. Her modern idea of a fashion show included a runway with music and art, and the use of elongated, shapeless women as models. She believed that this boyish figure would best display the clothing.
Many people do not realize the true sum of her impact on fashion and the fashion industry.
A darker tone was set when France declared war on Germany in 1939. Schiaparelli's Spring 1940 collection featured "trench" brown and camouflage print taffetas. Soon after the fall of Paris on 14 June 1940, Schiaparelli sailed to New York for a lecture tour apart from a few months in Paris in early 1941, she remained in New York City until the end of the war.
 On her return she found that fashions had changed, with Christian Dior's "New Look" marking a rejection of pre-war fashion. The house of Schiaparelli struggled in the austerity of the post-war period, and Elsa finally closed it down in December 1954,the same year that her great rival Chanel returned to the business.
Aged 64, she wrote her autobiography and then lived out a comfortable retirement between her apartment in Paris and house in Tunisia.
She died on 13 November 1973.
Elsa Schiaparelli's daughter, Countess Maria Luisa Yvonne Radha de Wendt de Kerlor, better known as Gogo Schiaparelli, married shipping executive Robert L. Berenson.
Their children were model Marisa Berenson and photographer Berry Berenson.
Both sisters appeared regularly in Vogue in the early 1970s. Berry was married Anthony Perkins, who died of AIDS on September 12, 1992.
Almost 9 years later, on September 11, 2001, Berry perished tragically on American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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