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

Evening ensemble

Designer:
Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Department Store:
Henri Bendel (American, founded 1895)
Date:
1938
Culture:
French
Medium:
silk, metal
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. V. D. Crisp, 1963
Accession Number:
2009.300.2515a–c
Not on view
Schiaparelli's summer 1938 collection was teeming with a circus theme. The circus theme was widely copied by many American department stores such as Lord & Taylor, Bonwit Teller and Henri Bendel. This version of that theme by luxury department store Henri Bendel incorporates playful trapeze artists swinging across the bolero jacket. The original jacket was embroidered overall and featured elephants balancing on drums in addition to the trapeze artists. The dress fabric, which features large brocaded metallic fronds, is also a copy of a Schiaparelli dress which is in the Brooklyn Museum collection. Worn by Millicent Rogers, whose version is black and gold, the silhouette is slightly different. Though this was a licensed copy, it is interesting to see how free American companies were to modify French designs and sell them as their own.
Marking: Label: "Henri Bendel, Inc./Paris/Newport/Palm Beach/New York"