Two of most iconic fashion idols are Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada0; which is probably why the Met chose to feature “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” as their spring blockbuster exhibition. The exhibit draws parallels between these two brilliant Italian designers.
Miuccia Prada became a worldwide craze when she turned black nylon into a functional and waterproof backpack. Extremely well made and understated, Prada’s backpack was the starting point for the next fashion empire.
Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the most original designers of her time. Rivaling Coco Chanel one of her handbags designed to look like music box, actually played songs. However, what Schiaparelli is most famous for is introducing a bright magenta color she called Shocking pink. She is responsible for introducing the color into couture, which previously consisted of boring blacks, navys, and greys.
Although these two designers are extremely different from each other, they both have an interesting perspective in fashion. Miuccia Prada designed a collection called “Lost in the Woods” in fall 1999 where she sewed small metallic black bugs on an orange tweed mini skirt. In 1938 Schiaparella designed a candy-pink suit, and delicately on the collar were small metal insects. Whether Prada was specifically referencing Schiaparelli in her designs or was subconsciously influenced is a mystery.
Regardless, these two designers seem to focus on the artistic side of fashion. They both design for the modern woman—sleek and audacious. In addition to their similarities it is also their differences that define them. While Elsa Schiaparelli designed with a glamorous social butterfly in mind, her designs in essence remained playful, ostentatious, and feminine. Prada meanwhile designed with simplicity in mind, keeping her ideas more basic black and grounded.
The art exhibit documents the conversation between these two designers through their artistic fashion creations. So whether you are a minimalist Prada follower or an outrageous Schiap fan—both designers represent bold, feminine and strong women.