2012 07 Real Weddings Amanda Matts Elegant

At the time the designer had a long-standing working relation with Lesage, the famous Paris embroidery firm dating back to the mid-19th century. Schiaparelli was one of the first fashion designers to realize the creative potential of zippers, although, as she admitted, “King Button still reigned without fear at Schiap’s,” at least before World War I. Stars of the stage and screen loved this mixture of practicality and flamboyance, and Schiaparelli counted Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich among her clients, not forgetting Wallis Simpson, the future Duchess of Windsor.


Daring to be different Schiaparelli delighted in wearing head-turning creations herself, remembering in her 1954 autobiography that before World War II, “People were not afraid of being different.” Her clients had to have a similar attitude. When tennis star Lily d’Alvarez appeared at the Wimbledon tournament in 1931 wearing a Schiaparelli divided skirt, there was a public outcry. Schiaparelli’s signature color was a shade of magenta which she called “shocking pink,” and in 1937 her perfume Shocking was packaged in a bottle shaped like the film star Mae West’s torso.


Schiaparelli introduced themed collections and in the late 1930s was inspired by music, the circus, astrology, and even shopping. Her Cash and Carry collection for the spring of 1940 featured large pockets. After World War II ended, the “hard chic” look of the 1930s was replaced by ultrafeminine styles, which did not suit Schiaparelli’s particular brand of creativity. While her star no longer shines as brightly as in her own lifetime, Schiaparelli’s irreverent take on fashion was later emulated by Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier.