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Object Name

Evening Dress


Schiaparelli, Elsa (Primary maker)
Schiaparelli, Elsa (maker)

Date Made



colour : grey and pink. design : evening dress of crepe backed satin based wool/silk mixture. Elaborate cut with one cap sleeve cut in one with bodice which is swathed diagonally at front. Front of skirt bias cut with train falling from one point at back. Ruched pink satin breast covering emerges on left side. Pink satin shoulder strap extends from this to nearly waist level at back. Except for the strap and a narrow panel of grey at right back the dress is backless top of skirt is lined with cream silk satin woven with "E.S." monogram. Bodice lined with cream satin except on pink section. The dress is well cut but poorly sewn, possibly due to difficulties in immediate post war years. From early 2000s exhibition label: Crepe and satin evening dress, 1947 Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) A friend of intellectuals and artists, Schiaparellu had a dramatic influence on fashion. She involved it with the Surrealist movement, and also with humour (not seen again until Franco Moschino's work). Her arch-rival, Chanel called her 'that Italian artist who makes dresses' and, as Colin McDowell remakrs, that is not a bad description. This dress shows how design had stultified during the war years. It was produced in 1947 after Schiaparelli re-opened her fashion house, but is of very similar lines to her late thirties designs. It is of very poor quality for couture. The zip is poorly inserted and the dyestuff was not good, as can be observed. From exhibition label, 'Reflections: Costume 1730-2013' Esla Schiaparelli began her career at the age of twenty-two when, lacking money for a ball gown, she made a dress from a single piece of fabric. Her instinct for innovation led her to collaborate with artists such as Salvador Dali. While the style of 'underwear as outwear' is associated with the 1980s, this dress shows that Schiaparelli had experimented with the idea many years before. From exhibition label 'Grand Designers' Elsa Schiaparelli was born in Rome in 1890 and began her career at the age of 22. Lacking the money for...etc


wool & crepe & silk & satin

Catalogue Number



National Museums NI