Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Textile manufactured by F. Ducharne Silk Company
Buttons designed by Jean Cocteau (French, Maisons-Laffitte 1889–1963 Milly-la-Forêt)
winter 1935–36
wool, metal
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Seton Ijams in memory of Clara Hawkins Miller, 1984
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
In Schiaparelli's winter 1935-36 collection, military influences abounded, inspired by the uncertain political climate in Europe. Other couturiers featured red coats in their winter collections for that year, but Schiaparelli’s subtle nontraditional expression of a traditional shape--the military greatcoat--resonates. Schiaparelli's particular sculptural sensibility is seen in the rigid silhouette and the exposed seams are a side effect of her artistic attention to detail and thoughtful design sense. As she did throughout her career, Schiaparelli worked with artists to execute her whimsical designs for fasteners such as buttons. The cast metal organic swirling buttons on this coat are by the artist Jean Cocteau. Schiaparelli and Cocteau collaborated many times, but to see his work in such a small detail is indicative of their close working relationship. The brilliant red wool used is an example of her desire to realize her designs with custom fabrics by well-known mills. In this case, the textile, called "rouge gaulois," or Gallic red, is made by Ducharne, a firm well-known for their modern silk designs. It is interesting to see that Schiaparelli requested a woolen from Ducharne, and shows that she was constantly seeking to create something new.
Brooklyn Museum. "A Slice of Schiaparelli," October 20, 1995–March 24, 1996.

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