ELSA SCHIAPARELLI IN THE MUSEUM GUGGENHEIM OF BILBAO
For: Josefina Figueras
In his epoch she was the most controversial, original and provocative fashionable designer. The inspiration of Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) had no limits and his relation with the surrealistic movement broke the barrier that the art and the fashion were separating. Now she is one of the principal protagonists of the exhibition “Things of the surrealism” that is exhibited in the Museum Guggenheim of Bilbao that will remain opened until September 7.
The Schiaparelli pieces are part of the 250 that exhibit in the museum related to the design, the interior design the scene and the fashion influenced by the surrealism. In them there can be appreciated the brilliant art of this seamstress who designed clothes, hats, shoes, jewels, and who introduced a new vocabulary in the way of dressing of the woman associating the artistic demand with the employment of the most original materials and with a constant innovation.
“The fashion is born of small facts, of tendencies, of historical events, it never tries to make pleating or to do more or less long garments” Elsa was saying. This wide vision of the fashion was what moved his life and his inspiration. For her nothing was impossible. It decorated night suits with vulgar zippers, did patterns reproducing articles about newspapers, created accessories with exotic animals and flowers and so frequent shocking took of the painter Berard his famous pink color in the current fashion. We find Elsa's trace in Gaultier, Living Westwood, Versace, Galiano …
For her the fashion was a game, something entertaining, a challenge to the most conventional esthetic norms. Between his incredible accessories they were representing even beetles and bees. One of his favorite concepts was that of “metamorphosis“ represented by his animal fetish: the butterfly. For the surrealists the metamorphosis is the bloom of the ugliness in the beauty. Although the Schiaparelli was considered to be a real artist inside the world of the fashion she was refusing to admit this title “In my house – he was saying - there are two prohibited words: artistic and impossible”.
At the end of the 30s the famous collaborations of the designer with some artists changed the face of the fashion. It was inspired in the "collages" of Pablo Picasso and of Georges Braque and Jean Cocteau designed poetical drawings for his embroideries. But the most brilliant collaboration was the one that Salvador Dalí offered him. The Cadaqués painter provided inspiration to him for his models and accessories inscribed in the most surrealistic ambience. His ideas for purses in the shape of phone, the pockets in the shape of lips and the garments that reproduce the interpretation daliniana of Milo's Venus were some of his topics to “duo“ The most brilliant accessory created by Dalí for her was the “hat shoe”.Elsa it was of few women that it dared to take it. “I am never afraid of appearing with the most extravagant and more personal models” was said by him.
The history of the fashion of the period of entreguerras was dominated by the two most important designers of the XXth century: Coconut Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. His rivalry turned into a legend. Chanel was the symbol of a simple and comfortable elegance, Schiaparelli was the prototype of a picturesque and extravagant elegance. Chaenl died rich and left an imperishable legacy. Elsa Schiaparelli died in 1973 living his last years in a difficult economic situation settled only partly for the income derived from his perfumes. His memory survives in the most avant-garde designers of the current fashion.