Beachwear, ca. 1932
Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Orange and yellow raw silk; L. at CB (a) 48 in. (121.9 cm), (b) 46 in. (116.8 cm), (c) 27 1/2 in. (69.9 cm)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Frederick H. Prince, Jr., 1967 (2009.300.1336a–c)
Schiaparelli experimented with new ideas for cut and construction as well as decoration from the outset of her career. Sportswear was her first design endeavor. In this early example, made to be worn for casual beach activities at a fashionable seaside resort such as the Côte d'Azur or Biarritz, she added a quirky yet stylish element to the standard dressmaking concept of a wraparound by cutting two half-dresses, each with one armhole, that wrapped and tied to make a whole. Each of a different color, they could be reversed, as could the two-tone cardigan jacket that completed the set.