Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Blue silk velvet, metal, rhinestones, plastic
L. at CB 20 in. (50.8 cm)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Anthony V. Lynch, 1971 (2009.300.1354)
Schiaparelli developed a lifelong interest in the heavens from her uncle, Giovanni Schiaparelli, a prominent astronomer. Typically mining her childhood experiences as source material for her creative life, she used celestial iconography in several collections between 1935 and 1940. In crafting this jacket, a collaboration with master embroiderers Albert and Marie-Louise Lesage, she designed her ultimate personal and artistic expression of the theme. Surrounded by a midnight blue galaxy sprinkled with beadwork stardust, silver and gold planets, rhinestone crescent moons, swirling comets, and shooting stars, twelve glyphs representing the signs of the zodiac are embroidered in gold at center front. Ursa Major, the constellation known as the Great Bear, or Big Dipper, which Schiaparelli adopted as her personal emblem in childhood, illuminates the left shoulder.