Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Italian

That was how Coco Channel referred to her contemporary, and rival, Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973). Schiaparelli's initial success came with her tromp l'oeil knitted necktie sweater. Such was its popularity, it enabled her to open her first shop in 1927 at 4, rue de la Paix - one of the most fashionable streets in Paris.

It was the manifestation of her belief that it was more important to be creative, outrageous, and fun rather than tasteful that kept the public enthralled. That is, until those qualities were no longer fashionable. Facing financial ruin, Schiaparelli closed her doors in 1954.

The dining room of Schiaparelli's apartment on the boulevard Saint Germain in 1931. The interior having been renovated by Jean-Michel Frank. His design (which illustrated both Schiaparelli's love of colour and her influence with him) was based on the colours of white, yellow, orange, green, and black. White being used for the walls, Tunisian rugs, and the rubberised fabric used for the curtains and the chairs. The divans were done in the same fabric, but in a brilliant green. The small dining tables were of black lacquer with grey streaks.

Schiaparelli's apartment on the rue Barbet-de-Jouy was also decorated by Jean-Michel Frank in 1934.

The living room was furnished with an orange leather sofa and occasional chairs slip-covered in canary and milk-white quilted chintz. The walls were white and almond green.

In the bedroom is the same blistered rayon bark fabric that Schiaparelli used for dresses. White walls and a polar bear rug set off the lavender-blue fabric.

22, rue de Berri an eighteen-room hotel particulier that Schiaparelli purchased in 1937. Both Jean-Michel Frank and Maison Jansen helped with the decoration. The arrangement of Schiaparelli's eclectic furnishings is indicative of the more personal style of the 1930s.

Birth is not the beginning
Death is not the end.

Images from Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli

Now playing on iTunes: Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama
via FoxyTunes


Jill said...

Great post..."financial ruin" scares the shit out of me.

Paul Pincus said...

the book: shocking! the art and fashion of elsa schiaparelli is by my friend dilys blum! it's the definitive title on schiap!

great post!

you always choose the perfect soundtrack : )

HOBAC said...

pp - great book! Ms. Blum did the world a great service by writing it.