Extraordinary Elsa Schiaparelli Haute Couture Evening Jacket

Price Upon Request


"In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous"
Elsa Schiaparelli,1930's.

"Life has changed so much, A Schiaparelli was never made for the streets."
Karl Lagerfeld, 1970's.

2 quotes,2 designers, 4 decades apart.

4 decades later.
Although these quotes are highly debatable, especially in the context of today's high-low designer collabs and pop up retailing, iconic fashion endures. Whether now relegated to a museum exhibition, a collector's acid free box or a celebrity one nighter, these fashion artifacts from the french Haute Couture of the 1930's echo a time, pace and culture unrecognizable to most people today.

Schiaparelli changed the definition of what it meant to be a designer at an important time in the evolution of the Haute Couture. Rather than simply making beautifully elegant garments (which she also did), she focused on the concepts behind the pieces. For her fashion was a fluid medium and she effortlessly blended fashion, politics and the fine arts. She was one of the most innovative and rebellious designers of the period working against what she considered the stale fashion currents of the day.

She was elegant yet untrained. As a protege of Poiret, she gained entry into the world of Parisian fashion. While her rival Chanel was essentially uneducated and a “primitive” in the artistic circles in which she socialized, Schiaparelli’s impeccable social credentials as the daughter of an old and distinguished Roman family gave her a relatively easy entree into Paris society.

She was a subversive, a punk, a desecrator, a collaborator, an innovator as well as the ultimate insider whose plans on design domination and creating "la zone rose" for the modern world were cut short by the advent of WWII. She was at the height of her influence and power showing 4 iconic collections in the last years of the decade.

Fascinating to consider what the House of Schiaparelli could have brought forth in the following decades had the world not been swept away in turmoil at that moment.

In the context of her short prewar career, few remaining masterworks have survived. The rare "moment" she created in the 30's lives on within each art piece, safelocked away within each stitch and sequin. Each design retains her spirit and legacy as a free thinking, modernist rebel who used the avantegarde as her platform in the most creative period of fashion design in the 20th Century.


Rare and Important Elsa Schiaparelli Haute Couture Pagan Evening Jacket Fall 1938.

Schiaparelli was one of the earliest purveyors of the embellished "Evening" suit. This standard of elegance and chic was carried well into the late 20th Century by Yves Saint Laurent whose most iconic collections contained extraordinarily embroidered evening jackets. In fact, Schiaparelli chose to wear only YSL's clothes after the closure of her namesake house.

This jacket is an incredible melange of an atypical day fabric (silk/cotton corduroy showing her fondness for English fabrics) embellished with roccoco silver and purple metallic tinsel Lesage embroideries of grapes clusters and trailing vines. As extraordinary (and as modern) as this garment is, the buttons take this jacket to another level.
Each of the massive buttons are made of composition cameo portraits of Schiaparelli's image with "SCHIAP" embossed into each one. Schiaparelli often used closures as a palette for her artistic expression, and worked with artists such as Jean Clement and Roger Jean-Pierre to execute her whimsical designs.
In the world of Collecting, this would have to be considered one of the finest Schiaparelli Haute Couture offerings available in the world today.


Elsa Schiaparelli photgraphed by Horst. 1937


  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2011

Located in New York, NY

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