See ‘shocking’ works by model legend Elsa Schiaparelli and the avant-garde artists who inspired her, from Man Ray to Méret Oppenheim

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris has just opened “Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli” (through January 22, 2023), dedicated to the life and work of the eccentric Italian-born couturier.

A mentee by Paul Poiret and an inspiration for Man Ray, which she modeled for over the years, Schiaparelli presented her first designs in 1927 – a collection of sweaters, playfully adorned with trompe-l’oeil ties and bows. Over the next three decades, she developed a radical work based on her close ties to the Parisian avant-garde.

Schiaparelli at a masquerade ball in 1952;  the man is wearing a jacket she designed.  © Elsa Schiaparelli SAS.  © Rights reserved, Paris, Palais Galliera - Fashion Museum.  © Paris Museums, Palais Galliera, Dist.  RMN- Grand Palais / picture of the city of Paris.

Schiaparelli at a masquerade ball in 1952; the man is wearing a jacket she designed. © Elsa Schiaparelli SAS. © Rights reserved, Paris, Palais Galliera – Fashion Museum. © Paris Museums, Palais Galliera, Dist. RMN- Grand Palais / picture of the city of Paris.

The exhibition’s 577 objects are displayed chronologically and thematically across two levels, including 212 of Schiaparelli’s most iconic creations and collaborations – from a brass bracelet covered in animal fur, based on a design by Swiss artist Méret Oppenheim, to an evening coat and a suit. embossed with drawings by Jean Cocteau – along with works of art by some of her most famous friends and contemporaries.

There is a special room dedicated to the designer’s work with Salvador Dalí – see theirs Lobster dress and Hats– as well as a special cage for her perfumes, including Shocking, its bottle modeled after a woman’s torso (a first time) by Argentine-Italian artist Leonor Fini and Le Roy Soleil, in limited edition Baccarat crystal vials designed by Dalí.

An evening coat from Elsa Schiaparelli's autumn collection from 1937, embossed with a Jean Cocteau drawing with silk embroidery and flowers by Lesage.  © Philadelphia Museum of Art.

An evening coat from Elsa Schiaparelli’s autumn collection from 1937, embossed with a Jean Cocteau drawing with silk embroidery and flowers by Lesage. © Philadelphia Museum of Art.

As Schiaparelli said in 1954: “To be able to work with artists such as Bébé Bérard, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dalí, Vertès and Van Dongen, with photographers such as Hoyningen-Huene, Horst, Cecil Beaton and Man Ray were exciting. We felt helped, encouraged, far beyond the material and boring reality of making a dress to sell. “

“Dull” is the antithesis of a so-called Schiap design; it has always been easy to see. But Schiaparelli’s greater influence – on fashion and femininity – has become less recognized.

“She avoided the role of muse that so many women are reduced to, in order to concentrate on the essentials: being a customer, becoming a designer, never surrendering, being true to herself,” said Olivier Gabet, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in a statement.

Fotograferet af Horst P. Horst til <i>Vogue</i>March 15, 1937. “width =” 804 “height =” 1024 “/></p>
<p id=Photographed by Horst P. Horst for VogueMarch 15, 1937

The gap continued: “She was full of enthusiasm, she was unconventionally attractive, the very definition of chic for women all over the world – Diana Vreeland most of all – but she was also hardworking, visionary.”

Schiaparelli’s oeuvre has informed countless designers, including the likes of Azzedine Alaïa, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy – whom she hired as her first assistant in 1947 when he was 19 years old.

The retrospective features pieces they created in her honor, culminating in a look by Daniel Roseberry, the house’s current artistic director, who reinterprets Schiaparelli’s surreal heritage.

Below you can see a selection of works from the exhibition.

Salvador Dalí, forside til <i>Minotaure</i> 1936. Lent by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs © Les Arts Décoratifs. “Width =” 778 “height =” 1024 “/></p>
<p id=Salvador Dalí, cover for Minotaur (1936). Lent by Decorative Arts Museum © Les Arts Décoratifs.

A limited edition bottle made by Dalí of Baccarat crystal for Schiaparelli's Le Roy Soleil perfume, 1946. © Archives Schiaparelli.

A limited edition bottle made by Dalí of Baccarat crystal for Schiaparelli’s Le Roy Soleil perfume (1946). © Archive Schiaparelli.

George Platt Lynes, Salvador Dalí, 1939. © George Platt Lynes property.

George Platt Lynes, Salvador Dali (1939). © George Platt Lyne’s property.

Schiaparelli created this silk evening gown with Dalí in 1937. © Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Schiaparelli created this silk evening gown with Dalí in 1937. © Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Marcel Vertès, <i> Schiaparelli, 21 place Vendôme </i>1953. © Schiaparelli Archives. “Width =” 829 “height =” 1024 “/></p>
<p id=Marcel Vertes, Schiaparelli, 21 place Vendôme (1953). © Schiaparelli Archives.

A look from Daniel Roseberry's spring-summer 2022 Schiaparelli collection.  © Maison Schiaparelli.

A look from Daniel Roseberry’s spring-summer 2022 Schiaparelli collection. © Maison Schiaparelli.

A look from Daniel Roseberry's autumn-winter 2021-2022 Schiaparelli collection.  © Maison Schiaparelli.

A look from Daniel Roseberry’s autumn-winter 2021-22 Schiaparelli collection. © Maison Schiaparelli.

A look from Daniel Roseberry's autumn-winter 2021-2022 Schiaparelli collection.  © Maison Schiaparelli.

A look from Daniel Roseberry’s autumn-winter 2021-22 Schiaparelli collection. © Maison Schiaparelli.

An installation at "Shocking!  Elsa Schiaparelli's surreal world," with scenography by Nathalie Crinière.  © Decorative art: Christophe Dellière.

An installation on “Shocking! The Surrealist World of Elsa Schiaparelli,” with scenography by Nathalie Crinière. © Decorative Art: Christophe Dellière.

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