Before the outbreak of World War II, Elsa Schiaparelli was Coco Chanel’s greatest rival. The two frequently traded barbs, and there is a rumor that Chanel once set her Italian counterpart on fire by intentionally steering her into a candle chandelier at a ball. When Chanel described Schiaparelli as “that Italian artist who designs clothes,” it was not intended as a compliment.
Today, however, our values have changed: the line between fashion and art is fainter than ever, and Schiaparelli’s penchant for collaborating with contemporary artists such as Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Cocteau, and Andy Warhol feels increasingly prescient.
Tomorrow, Schiaparelli, which was in revived in 2006, over 33 years after its namesake’s death and 52 years after it originally shuttered, is launching a new online gallery. Each artist featured collaborated with Schiaparelli in some way, whether it was on an item of clothing (Dalí’s lobster dress, Christian Bérard “Astrologique” capes), an accessory (Man Ray’s spiral glasses, Meret Oppeheim’s fur cuff), advertisements for the maison (Warhol, Marcel Vertes), illustrations of collections, or portraits of Schiaparelli herself.
SCHIAPARELLI & ARTISTS LAUNCHES ONLINE TOMORROW, JUNE 15.