Celebrating the surrealist fashion designer and her impact on couture during the interwar years.
Elsa Schiaparelli’s fusion of surrealist principles and couture led her arch rival Coco Chanel to disdainfully refer to her as ‘that Italian artist that makes clothes’. The intended contempt notwithstanding, there is much truth in the statement. She was both inspired by and collaborated with leading artists such as Man Ray and Salvador Dali, producing dramatic avant-garde designs that challenged conventional fashion.
The Gallery of Costume presents 25 pieces exploring her contribution to the reinvention of 1930s style in relation to other leading couturiers, including six recently acquired designs. One key piece is a striking tunic designed to emulate traditional Persian garments, featuring elaborate gilt rosettes and brass beads against black wool.