Friday, August 6, 2010

Shoppin' For Schiaparelli

Broken rhyme, I realize-- Elsa Schiaparelli (sounds like Skap-ah-rel-li) is apparently the designer of my dreams. I remember reading a skimpily illustrated article by (about?) Marisa Berenson, her granddaughter, in which I was given a correct pronounciation of her name, but no concept of how stunning her work is.

Guys. Guys. This is 1920's-1950's stuff. GUYS. This looks like it could have been designed, oh...tomorrow?

I trawled the web and the extensive MoMa holdings to bring you the very best of "billion dollar Lisa buys what she wants: Schiaparelli edition".

Dress made to look like trompe l'oeil tears in fabric? Check. Lobster pin? Check.

The jacket with the vase/faces as well as the Sister Golden Hair top were collaborations with Cocteau. The tear dress, the shoe hat (below), and the skeleton dress? Salvador Dali. Sure, why not? The skeleton dress at upper right is just tip of the blade edgy, and it was part of a collection released in 1938. How?

Though the sweater in the right hand corner looks like something you could find knocked-off at TJ Maxx (keep an eye peeled), in 1927 this double knit/op art look was the first of its kind, brand, brand new, and very often copied. In the upper left and bottom right, two pieces from Schiap's Circus collection (1938). Do you see that the buttons are acrobats? Do you see that my heart is melting? The pink and gold of the sunburst jacket are also tops.

Shoe shaped hat? Check. Compact shaped like rotary dial? Check.

There were a series of bustle dresses of which I couldn't find high enough resolution images-- the one in the upper right is a pretty good indicator of the style. After all my hate speech in my last post regarding frippery and fashion, a "better safe than sorry" policy towards designs... THIS, people, is how it is done. The top right looks like a Bowie concocotion crosshatched through with the 1940's-- the colors are perfect. All the colors, actually, are perfect. The two dresses at bottom are somehow both demure and does she make this happen?

Both look like something made this year. Actually from the 30's.

In the future, when money is no object-- you and me, Schiap. We have a date.


1) I continue to marvel at what conservationists can DO with fabric. Here, the Philadeplphia Museum of Art (which immediately puts me in mind of the Alfred C. Barnes collection, the memory of which still slightly burns me, but we'll let it slide for now) details four items and the conservation work that restored those items to their original splendor.

2) The fascinating (and like Marilyn Monroe quotes, bound to be misapplied, misinterpreted, misquoted by someone, SOMEWHERE, just as I speak) 10 Commandments for Women:

1. Since most women do not know themselves they should try to do so.
2. A woman who buys an expensive dress and changes it, often with disastrous result, is extravagant and foolish.
3. Most women (and men) are color-blind. They should ask for suggestions.

4. Remember-twenty percent of women have inferiority complexes. Seventy percent have illusions.

5. Ninety percent are afraid of being conspicuous, and of what people will say. So they buy a gray suit. They should dare to be different.
6. Women should listen and ask for competent criticism and advice.

7. They should choose their clothes alone or in the company of a man.
8. They should never shop with another woman, who sometimes consciously or unconsciously, is apt to be jealous.
9. She should buy little and only of the best or cheapest.
10. Never fit a dress to the body, but train the body to fit the dress.
11. A woman should buy mostly in one place where she is known and respected, and not rush around trying every new fad.
12. And she should pay her bills.

3) Add to my list the transcendant Mae West couch by Dali. Girl's got to have set dressing as well as costume, right?

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