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Evening dress

Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)

Manufacturer:
House of Lesage (French, founded 1922)
Date:
fall 1939
Culture:
French
Medium:
silk, leather, plastic, metal
Dimensions:
Length at CB (a): 79 1/2 in. (201.9 cm) Other (b): 26 1/2 in. (67.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1951
Accession Number:
2009.300.1165a, b
  • Description

    Music was the theme for Schiaparelli's fall 1939 collection, which manifested itself in music boxes on belts and hats, buttons shaped like drums, and shimmering embroidered instruments and music notes. This particular evening dress, worn by Millicent Rogers, was accessorized with a belt with a working music box as the buckle. The Brooklyn Museum also has a black version of the belt from Rogers' collection (see 2009.300.1226), that could be worn interchangeably with the white one seen here. The musical notes and symbols are embroidered in vibrant metallic thread on a gossamer organza and possibly form the tune of a fanciful song that one can imagine hearing as the dress twirls and comes to life. Another prominent element of this collection was ethereal fabrics, as this dress embodies. Schiaparelli also made matching gloves which serendipitously entered the collection in 1995 from an unrelated source (see 2009.300.1388a, b). In Dilys Blum's definitive book on Schiaparelli's career, "Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli," Schiaparelli's daughter Gogo is pictured wearing this design.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: Label: "Schiaparelli"

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
155850:5

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