Evening blouse, Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973), silk, metal, French

Evening blouse

Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
winter 1938–39
silk, metal
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955
Accession Number:
Not on view
Schiaparelli's zodiac collection of winter 1938-39, while obviously rotating around a celestial theme, also made reference to the Sun King Louis XIV and Apollo, the god of mythology who emerged from the sea and drove his four-horse chariot daily across the sky to represent the rising sun. A black velvet cape designed for Lady Mendl featuring gold sequin and bead embroidery based on the Apollo Fountain in the Parc de Versailles is one of her most iconic designs. Rays of golden sequins shoot out from behind Apollo and his horses, similar to the rays of gold beadwork on this blouse, also from the zodiac collection. According to Dilys Blum in "Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli," the colors and materials used for the collection "rotated around the sun." Evocative of sun rays emerging from behind clouds against a stormy sky, the fuschia, pink and violet sequin embroidery worked on blue-gray silk shot with glittering gold is an exemplar. Visible zippers used as decorative devices as well as functioning closures, a Schiaparelli halllmark, here are placed on the shoulders like epaulets. Schiaparelli's work is characterized by an overall artistic quality that transcends a strictly fashionable vibe. Worn by devoted client and fashion connoisseur Millicent Rogers, this blouse, with its dense embroidery, sophisticated coloration and asymmetric details, beautifully illustrates that concept.
Marking: Label: "Schiaparelli/21. place vendôme/Paris/Hiver 1938-39/445?49"
Brooklyn Museum. "From the Millicent Rogers Collection," August 1, 1982–April 30, 1983.

Brooklyn Museum. "American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection," May 7, 2010–August 1, 2010.