In a previous article I wrote about the Met Gala 2012 I discussed the exhibit featuring Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. The buzz continues around the exhibit and especially Schiap. However, I wrote that article without fully understanding the fashion world’s innate attraction to this designer.
In an age where someone’s fifteen minutes of fame now only lasts fifteen seconds, I kept asking myself what was so important about this woman. After reading everything I could Google about Schiap, it turns out she’s what Steve Jobs is to technology. She’s what Starbucks is to coffee, what Picasso is to painting. You can’t talk about fashion without referencing her.
What is so interesting about this woman is that for the first time she merged the idea of fashion and art. In the height of the surrealist movement she found her inspiration in artists such as Man Ray and Salvador Dali. Her rival, Coco Chanel, often referred to her as ‘that Italian artist who makes clothes’. Her shocking pink, tear dress and shoe hat are only a few of her most famous designs.
By the end of 1954 Schiap closed the doors to her fashion house. However Schiap is now on contemporary fashion’s radar once again. Diego Della Valle purchased the brand in 2007 and plans to relaunch it in February 2013. A head designer has still not been named but the Schiaparelli salon in Paris opened the first week in July. The quirky elegant boutique is filled with bright colors, unusual furniture, art packed rooms, and chandeliers. Basically, a fashion house on acid. If this salon is a reflection of the type of clothes that will be coming out, I can’t wait to be happily surprised.