Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birthday Girl: Grand Dame de la Mode

Surrealism and wearability might seem, when it comes to couture, polar opposites, but the divine Elsa Schiaparelli, 119 years young today, proved otherwise. Here, for example, is a 1938 creation featuring a pattern of elegant rips, by Dali.

Schiap interspersed her largely highly tailored, perfectly cut collections with these sorts of amuses bouches, which is almost a pity, as the memory of her shoe hats and lobster gowns can at times overwhelm her achievements as couturière and businesswoman. She even had the good sense to get when the going was good, closing her maison in the early fifties and, for the rest of her life, having a lovely time doing other things. There's a lesson there, I think...


  1. I am astounded that I have been remiss in remembering Schiap's birthday!

    Thanks for the photo as this is the first photo I have seen of this dress beeing worn and not on a mannequin!

  2. Isn't it lovely? That's the thing with her clothes - they actually look better on people - and even on real people.