Designer Elsa Schiaparelli Italian

Not on view

For her first collection in 1927, Elsa Schiaparelli designed several sporty sweaters that featured geometric motifs and trompe l'oeil bows, collars and cuffs. Each sweater was hand-knit using bold colors or black and white yarns that produced a mottled effect, foreshadowing her career-long interest in using visually interesting fabrics. The success of one particular sweater with a trompe l'oeil bowknot officially established her reputation in the fashion world as an artistic purveyor of chic who designed unconventional, unique clothing.

Schiaparelli continued to offer her clients hand-knit sweaters throughout her career. As seen in this sweater owned by Millicent Rogers, and as she did with several types of clothing, Schiaparelli embellished a simply cut garment with unique fabrics and closures. This sweater is knit of a textured popcorn pattern, incorporating stripes of purl stitch, the looped underside of the knit, as a prominent aspect of the design. The contrasting textures make for a visually pleasing effect. Schiaparelli enjoyed using many forms of closures that expressed her artistic personality, such as plastic zippers, oversized buttons and buttons in various fanciful forms. The large wooden buttons on this sweater are an example of a closure that is unusual because of its size and concave shape, not necessarily because it’s an odd form.

Sweater, Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973), wool, wood, French

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