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

Evening dress

Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
ca. 1948
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Claire Ramsay Roman, 1986
Accession Number:
Not on view
Throughout her career, Schiaparelli referenced the bustle of the late 19th century, particularly in her summer 1939 collection. Her collections from 1948 featured romantic, and as always, exciting designs. This example exhibits her enduring interest in the bustle form, as well as her talent for thoughtfully using the textile to suit her design. The dramatic gathering of the fabric into the bow at the back and the flared train is indicative of Schiaparelli's interest in the feminine form. The textile itself shows great visual appeal because the light bounces off the shiny white satin and matte lavender faille differently. This also gives the effect of the body being bisected into negative and positive spaces, as if alluding to the skeleton beneath the skin, a nod to her Surrealist ideas.