Monthly Muse: Elsa Schiaparelli

Posted by Elizabeth Williams on

Elsa Schiaparelli: Inspiring Fantasy

As I sent my child off to pre school today with buffalo horns on his head, I hoped that his little "costume" inspired a bit of fantasy in his day.

Elsa Schiaparelli is one such designer that has inspired fantasy in the every day with her surrealist designs and imaginative accessories...a fitting muse for the month of October.


Elsa Schiaparelli


Elsa Schiaparelli was born on September 10, 1890, in Rome, Italy by a well-to-do family. Her early life was marked by privilege and access to the arts. Schiaparelli's upbringing exposed her to a world of culture, and it was clear from an early age that she had a unique eye for design.


Schiaparelli Gloves


Schiaparelli's journey in fashion began when she moved to London in the early 1900s. There, she discovered her passion for clothing and design, which eventually led her to Paris. During this time, Paris was a hotbed of artistic and intellectual activity, and Schiaparelli was right at home among the avant-garde circles of painters, writers, and designers.


Schiaparelli Coat


What set Elsa Schiaparelli apart from her contemporaries was her willingness to push boundaries and challenge conventions. She was unafraid to experiment with colors, materials, and shapes, creating garments that were bold, surreal, and often humorous. Her designs were influenced by the surrealist art movement, which was gaining momentum in the 1930s.




Schiaparelli collaborated with artists like Salvador Dalí, resulting in iconic pieces like the "Lobster Dress" and the "Shoe Hat." Her irreverent and whimsical approach to fashion made her a darling of both the fashion elite and the avant-garde crowd.


Shoe Hat


Elsa Schiaparelli was not content with simply following fashion trends; she aimed to redefine them. Her approach was characterized by boldness, creativity, and a willingness to push boundaries.

Elsa Schiaparelli's influence on the fashion world is immeasurable. Her designs paved the way for a new era of creativity and individuality in clothing.




She championed the idea that fashion could be a form of self-expression, blurring the lines between art and apparel. Today, her legacy lives on in the work of designers who continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in fashion. Schiaparelli's daring designs, avant-garde sensibility, and fearless approach to creativity continue continues to inspire designers and fashion enthusiasts alike.




Through her innovative spirit and unconventional style, she left an indelible mark on the industry, reminding us that fashion is not merely about clothing but also a powerful form of artistic expression. Elsa Schiaparelli's legacy endures as a testament to the enduring power of innovation and creativity in fashion.

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