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Posts Tagged ‘surrealism in fashion’

The Tear Dress by Elsa Schiaparelli.

 

In difficult times fashion is always outrageous. 

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Italian born fashion designer.

Schiaparelli is my favorite designer of all time. Known for her collaboration with Surreal artist Salvador Dali, Schiaparelli designs were unique and fanciful and very much of the Art Deco era.  She turned the shape of a shoe into a hat and circus animals became buttons.

In this quote I wonder if Schiaparelli means that the idea of fashion during challenging times is outrageous. Or is she saying that fashion itself is (or should be) outrageous during such times.

Let’s go with the latter, and if it’s true then 2020 should see some extreme fashion, like the Schiaparelli dress pictured above. The Tear dress was part of the designer’s Circus Collection for summer 1938. The printed image on the delicate fabric is of cut skin reveling dark red blood underneath. There are actual slashes in the mantle worn over the head (pictured above left), which reminds me of the popularity of slashed fabrics during the 16th century.

Judith Watt says of the dress in her book Vogue on Elsa Schiaparelli (Quadrille Publishing, 2012), “The Tear dress remains a singularly hostile work … Taken out of political context in which General Franco was to seize complete power in Spain and Hitler was poised to annex Czechoslovakia and Austria, its meaning and impact is lost.”

Hostile garb for hostile times. What do we wear to reflect our current state of outrage?

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Schiaparelli suit. Vogue, September 15, 1938. Photo: Regina Relans.

Dress designing … is to me not a profession but an art.

Elsa Schiaparelli

 

 

 

 

 

Miuccia Prada suit, autumn/winter 2004-05. Photo: Toby McFarlan Pond.

Fashion fosters clichés of beauty but I want to tear them apart.

– Miuccia Prada

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC just opened a new exhibit of designs by Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations runs now through August 19, 2012. If you can’t make it (sadly, I cannot) check it out online: http://www.metmuseum.org/impossibleconversations

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