Sunday, 31 October 2010
I recently found this lovely printed silk scarf by Elsa Schiaparelli- here’s a bit of history about this legendary designer.
Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer born in 1890 and died in 1973. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars.
Perhaps Schiaparelli's most important legacy was in bringing to fashion the playfulness and sense of "anything goes" of the Dada and Surrealist movements. She loved to play with juxtapositions of colours, shapes and textures and embraced the new technologies and materials of the time. She was a great innovator: Schiparelli created wraparound dresses decades before Diane von Furstenberg and crumpled up rayon 50 years before Issey Miyake's pleats and crinkles. In 1930 alone she created the first evening-dress with a jacket, and the first clothes with visible zippers, initially on sportswear, then on evening dresses- today one of Lanvin’s trademarks. In fact fastenings were something of a speciality, from a jacket buttoned with silver tambourines to one with silk-covered carrots and cauliflowers. She had a lot of "firsts" in the fashion industry. Her career had begun with her introduction of graphic knitwear with patterns and emblems.
Schiaparelli insisted that women should dare to be different. Wearing extravagant clothes was synonymous to being chic. Utilizing wit and shock tactics to arm modern women, she believed they would gain equality and independence.
Wait- it gets better: Schiaparelli had 12 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 woman (and men) are colour blind, They should ask for suggestions.
4. Remember 20% of women have inferiority complexes. 70% have illusions.
5. 90% 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.