Evening ensemble, ca. 1938
Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Purple silk velvet, metal foil; L. at CB (a) 58 1/2 in. (148.6 cm), (b) 23 in. (58.4 cm)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1951 (2009.300.1167a,b)
Dinner suits with square shouldered jackets and long skirts were a Schiaparelli specialty. Here she made use of the unparalleled skills of the Lesage embroidery house to embellish the jacket with heavy padded foil strip embroidery in a large floral design typical of the Baroque period. A black swan ornament at the waist adds a whimsical yet slightly sinister note recalling the dark forces of Von Rothbart and his daughter, the black swan Odile, in the ballet Swan Lake.