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LifeStories: Elsa Schiaparelli

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Schiap and friend

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) was an Italian fashion designer, affectionally known as Schiap. Between the two World Wars, she was arguably as powerful and influential as Coco Chanel – and yet today, while Chanel remains a huge and iconic fashion force, dominating magazines and catwalks, Schiap languishes as a footnote in fashion history. So who was this intriguing woman? And just how big is her almost forgotten legacy? Using bold patterns, geometric shapes and collaborations with Dali and Cocteau, Schiap fused the worlds of art and fashion together in a way that is widely accepted today, but was beyond avant garde at the time. Think Alexander McQueen, Peter Pilotto and Raf Simons – now imagine a woman doing this in the middle of the last century. She was closely associated with the Dada and Surrealist movements, and her most famous creation, the beautiful Lobster Dress, could easily be worn today. Continue reading LifeStories: Elsa Schiaparelli