Evening dress, fall 1939
Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
White silk organza, metallic thread, plastic, white suede, green metal; L. at CB (a) 79 1/2 in. (201.9 cm), (b) 26 1/2 in. (67.3 cm)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1951 (2009.300.1165a,b)
Music was the theme of Schiaparelli's fall 1939 collection. Correspondingly, she designed this white organza dress and gloves embroidered in metallic threads with music-score notes and accessorized with a belt containing a working music box in the buckle. Cutout scrollwork shapes on the buckle top relate to those on a violin, forms immortalized in Man Ray's 1924 photograph Le Violin d'Ingres. An elaboration of the Surrealist notion of woman's body as musical instrument, the wholly integrated creation captures the visual, audible, and transcendent essence of music in the person of the wearer.