Elsa Schiaparelli on show in Paris, we pay homage to the one thanks to whom hot pink exists today

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Visitors will be able to (re) discover the visionary work, talent and influence of the designer through evening dresses, elegant but also more casual, jewelry, accessories, perfumes and other objects on display. Overall, the retrospective exposes beyond 520 piecesalmost half of which were created by Elsa Schiaparelli herself.

Elsa Schiaparelli, Evening dress, Summer 1939 © Decorative arts / photo: Christophe Dellière

Christophe DELLIÈRE

«In today’s modern world, which sees an evident direct link between fashion and art, Elsa Schiaparelli, self-styled ‘inspired’ dressmaker, appears now more than ever as a woman of our time. For two decades she has lived and breathed avant-garde fashion using it as a playground to reinvent woman and femininity, style and spirit, with a work that still remains surprisingly modern. She embodied the vision of a radiant and vibrant Paris with insatiable curiosity, delighting in all that was new, ”said the press office of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

In addition to the countless ideas for exaggerated and counter-current clothes and accessories, the designer is also responsible for the invention of a shades of pink which sees within it the overwhelming force of red, created for the release of its perfume Shocking de Schiaparelli in 1937. Such a chromatic revolution as to be identified at the beginning with its name: pink Schiaparelli. And that particular nuance, which then came to shock the world, became the its trademark.

Elsa Schiaparelli in 1949. Photo Getty


And what if the pink Versace outfits seem like a revolution to Dua Lipa fans, or those in PP Pink by Valentino that are popular among celebs, a sign of reaction in the name of love in today’s dark times, know that it was Elsa Schiaparelli the first to mix haute couture, pink and pop. Today the fuchsia that depopulated in Instagram feeds and on the Net, let’s face it, would not have as much success if it were not for his intuition.

A nuance that made its first à la page appearance in 1938 on the cape Phoebus which shows off at the center of the back very long rays of sun embroidered with gold thread, designed by the painter Christian Bérard, who is said to have been the inspiration of that bright pink, already used by him in many paintings.

Elsa Schiaparelli, Detail of the cloak Phoebus, Winter 1938-1939. © Valerie Belin

Hasselblad X1D

Already aware of the power of marketing and word of mouth, the astute Elsa had given that cape to Daisy Fellowesit-girl of the 30s. Today this masterpiece from the winter collection Cosmic of the Autumn / Winter 1938-1939, present in the exhibition, is kept at the Palais Galliera in Paris. Later, in 1952, Schiaparelli will wrap Zsa Zsa Gabor in the film Mouline Rouge in an unforgettable pink sheath dress with a large fabric flower decorating one shoulder.

Zsa Zsa Gabor in the film Mouline Rouge from 1952. Photo Getty

Archive Photos / Getty Images

The reason for the attraction towards that bright variant of the color synonymous with a classic and graceful femininity, was Elsa herself to explain it at the end of her life in the autobiography Shocking life from 1954: «The color appeared in front of me, in a flash. Lit, impossible, impudent, full of life, fascinating, as if all the lights and the birds and fish of the world melted together, a color that spoke of China and Peru, far from the West ».

Today, almost 70 years later, the Schiaparelli brand is on the rise. While celebs such as Cardi B and public figures such as First Lady Jill Biden continue to wear it, with Daniel Roseberry (who, however, perhaps, out of some form of respect, has never included shocking pink in the collections he created for the label until now) the maison continues to consolidate its name in history through creations that have already entered the history of costume, from Lady Gaga’s outfit for President Biden’s inauguration to the black leather minidress and Beyoncé’s earrings at the 2021 Grammys up to the total black look with the golden lung necklace that made Bella Hadid immortal on the Cannes red carpet last year.

Bella Hadid in Cannes in 2021. Photo Getty

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis / Getty Images

Schiaparelli women remain works of art, as evidenced by the latest Haute Couture Fall / Winter 2022-23 show, just like the one who inextricably combined painting and sculpture with fashion in an eternal dialogue, creating avant-garde couture with immortal DNA.

Schiaparelli Haute Couture Autumn / Winter 2022-23. Photo: Imaxtree

Filippo Fior

Shocking pink, part of the maison’s heritage, is timeless. More than a color, it was an expression of Elsa’s creative power and her very strong feminine individuality to be discovered in the retrospective Shocking dedicated to her in Paris.

Waiting to be able to visit and admire it, in the gallery some celebs who on the red carpets in recent years have chosen to focus on the magical surrealism of Schiaparelli’s creations by Daniele Roseberry

Other stories of Vanity Fair that may interest you:

– Cannes Film Festival 2022, here are the first fashion twins in pink
– The man in pink
– Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, BFF in hot pink

Source: Vanity Fair

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