Playing at Fearless Fun with Surrealist Genius Elsa Schiaparelli
Say that 5 times fast!!
And if tongue-twisting isn’t your sport, how about a fun-and-far-out-fashion diversion?
You familiar with Elsa Schiaparelli?
Well, she made the weirdest and wildest clothes. Did you know she invented “divided skirts” (aka shorts), “shocking pink,” and the “speakeasy dress” for easy flask-hiding during prohibition?! All this and more AFTER she gave birth to “Gogo” at a young age and brought her to Paris... SOLO. Dang, that’s a cool mom.
She believed in the primacy of the imagination and the subconscious. She was friends with lots of famous Surrealist artists, like Dali, Duchamp, Ray, and Oppenheim. And she approached fashion like art-making... she, actually, maintained that they were one-in-the-same.
One of her first designs was a series of trompe l’oeil bow sweaters. Tricky, eh?
She started disguising imagery within the form and structure of her garments...
And then she got bolder and didn’t hide it anymore..
“Schiaparelli’s designs deliberately subverted traditional notions of beauty—fanciful, bizarre, and irreverent ideas that she developed early in life. “ - Vogue 2012
She experimented with bold color too. “Shocking pink” was her response to common sentiments that women should be modest and unassuming.
She loved gettin’ strange by adding oddball stuff to her designs, like wacky buttons...
Or an unexpected ruffle...
Or pair of manicured hands on just about anything...
Oh, and she was a real nature buff... look at all these leaves, vines, fruits, veggies, and bugs!
“Schiap once took flower seeds and sowed them in her ears, mouth, and nose, in the hopes that she would blossom into a beauty. “To have a face covered with flowers like a heavenly garden would indeed be a wonderful thing!” she wrote in her autobiography.” -Vogue 2012
She LOVED bugs.
In the 1950’s, she wanted time to write her autobiography, so she stopped making fashion BUT in 2012, the brand was revived and all the cool celebs are wanting in. Me? I just wanna channel some of that fun!
Elsa Schiaparelli wasn’t constrained by motherhood, by femininity, or by fashion. She let playfulness be her guide. And, in turn, she became expansive.
On this first day of summer, let’s ditch the to-do lists and plan some serious experimentation and adventure!
P.S. Here’s her autobiography
Cover photo via Maison Schiaparelli