Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Evening dress

Designer:
Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Date:
1938–39
Culture:
French
Medium:
silk
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Erik Lee Preminger in memory of his mother, Gypsy Rose Lee, 1993
Accession Number:
2009.300.1386
Not on view
Worn by the famous burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, this slinky Schiaparelli design emphasizes the curves of the female form. The slight mermaid silhouette, aided by the tight fit and flared train, is a Schiaparelli hallmark and caused the wearer to walk daintily along. Lee would have been an expert as such coquettish behavior. Charles James also designed a dress named "La Sirène" for Lee in 1939. Similar in design to this Schiaparelli dress, it is obvious that Lee liked the silhouette and the feminine draping along the sides of the body, and it is possible that Schiaparelli’s design inspired the James design. The James dress has been likened to a lobster, which is interesting in the case of this Schiaparelli design, as the lobster is a Surrealist form, often seen in Salvador Dalí’s work, in particular in the famous lobster dress from Schiaparelli's summer 1937 collection.
Marking: Label: "Schiaparelli/21.place vendôme/Paris/69910"
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