Designer Sarah Lipska Polish

Not on view

This object is from a collection of sample embroideries, which was originally owned by Morris de Camp Crawford, editor of Women's Wear Daily, who collected objects which told the story of fashion and fabric history. Included in this collection was a group of textiles which illustrated what American and French designers and manufacturers were using. According to Crawford's book The Ways of Fashion, the work of Polish artist Sarah Lipska (1882-1973) was represented in this collection. Lipska is an enigmatic figure, who is known to have worked with Leon Bakst as a set and costume designer for the Ballets Russes, and later in the 1920s as a fashion designer in Paris at 4 rue Belloni, and finally as a sculptor. Extant examples of her work are rare. Although only a few pieces in the Brooklyn Museum collection bear a label or a signature, others bear hallmarks of her work, such as a distinctive form of whip stitching on appliqué work, unusual abstract motifs, and Cubist-inspired patterns.

This sample bears a very creative interpretation of the motifs on the ji-fu, the traditional male dragon robe, as well as an overall Buddhist art aesthetic, an example of the non-Western influences inspiring designers at the time. The spirals are representative of the motif known as the flaming pearl, which symbolizes good fortune, genius and feminine beauty. The blue curling forms on the bottom portion represent the cloud scrolls, which symbolize the celestial realm. On the ji-fu, the clouds traditionally flank a central obelisk which represents the mountain or rock, and this sample features a stylized obelisk on the bottom portion.

Textile, Sarah Lipska (Polish, 1882–1973), silk, metal, French

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