Suit, Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973), wool, silk, metal, French


Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
fall 1939
wool, 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:
2009.300.198a, b
Not on view
The fall 1939 collection for the house of Schiaparelli focused on the theme of music. Instruments as closures, music boxes as belt buckles and embroidered music notes and bells were seen on clothing and accessories. This suit, worn by Millicent Rogers, is a more understated example of that collection, featuring piano keys as buttons. Schiaparelli often used closures as a palette for her artistic expression, and worked with artists such as Jean Clement and Roger Jean-Pierre to execute her whimsical designs. The black and white lining echoes the piano's coloration, a subtle reference to the collection’s theme. One of Schiaparelli's idiosyncrasies was including trompe l'oeil elements in her design, elements that aren't as they seem at first glance, inspired by her interest in Surrealist art. An example of that in this example is the construction of the jacket, particularly the seaming, which creates a trompe l'oeil bolero.
Marking: Label: "Schiaparelli/ vendôme/Paris/Automne 1939/68860"
Brooklyn Museum. "American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection," May 7, 2010–August 1, 2010.

Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "High Style: Twentieth-Century Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection," March 14, 2015–July 19, 2015.

Cincinnati Art Museum. "High Style: Twentieth-Century Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection," November 7, 2015–January 24, 2016.