Evening ensemble

Designer: Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)

Manufacturer: House of Lesage (French, founded 1922)

Date: winter 1937–38

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 Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1951

Accession Number: 2009.300.1167a, b


Schiaparelli designed many two-piece evening ensembles, all of which emphasized the female silhouette. The body-skimming dress, in a rich purple velvet, is complemented by the brashly, whimsically embroidered jacket. In classic Schiaparelli style, the embroidery is worked in pink foil, padded and oversized. Other designers of the period produced evening and dinner suits, but Schiaparelli's versions stand above, simply for their attention to detail and the boldness of the decoration. Here, even the button of the jacket is an avenue for her creativity - a black swan ornament is used instead of another, more typical, closure.