Dreams, Art and Fashion: The World of Schiaparelli

The World of Schiaparelli. As a brand new month unravels, my thoughts have meandered from everyday fashion to the world my heart truly belongs to the world of High Fashion. My posts this month would all reflect upon this world and how intensely it feeds my fashion passion.

In my days as a fashion novice, I never could truly appreciate fashion shows no matter how renowned the designer. Fashion shows seemed overrated; the collections that were showcased seemed wayward, unrealistic, impractical, and sometimes even ridiculous for everyday wear. Long story short, the whole fanfare and euphoria about fashion weeks and designer collections seemed to be nothing but a colossal waste of time, money, and energy. That is until I was familiarized with Schiaparelli.

Dreams, Art and Fashion

Back in 2012, I chanced upon a Vogue article on Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), and it was an epiphany. Her designs awakened strange sensations I never knew existed in me. Her works–fantastic pieces of clothing, perfume, or jewelry often created in collaboration with avant-garde artists like Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau–reminded me of dreams wreathed in mists, creepers bursting with flowers and oversized insects, and sparkling constellations glimmering in velvet night skies. Some of them stirred disturbing feelings of want and unspoken desires with exotic sea animal motifs floating and gathering around women’s bodies, provocative and luxuriant.

Elsa Schiaparelli
Image Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum
Maison Schiaparelli
Image Courtesy: Maison Schiaparelli
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Image Courtesy: Philadelphia Museum of Art

This is when I began to realize how much a fashion designer is a creative artist, and how much Haute Couture is part of this identity. Elsa Schiaparelli believed in designing pieces that completely lacked self-consciousness, aiming for the bold, the dreamy, the beautiful, and the risqué (sometimes bordering on plain outrageous). Her fashion was her sense of individuality, her dream, her vision, and her art. The Schiaparelli establishment bears this legacy with visionary designers like Daniel Roseberry giving voice to the expression of her heart.

The World of Schiaparelli

This year, I eagerly awaited the Fall Collection that Schiaparelli would be showcasing in the Paris Fashion Week 2022, and I was not disappointed. Breathtaking pieces and ensembles called out to my soul; a far cry from the humdrum and the everyday.

Here, delicate swathes of lavender satin with dainty lavender sprigs swathed lovingly around the upper torso. There, clusters of pearly grapes sparkling on carved golden vines, twining upwards to form an impossibly ethereal headpiece. Here, a headdress made from burnt ostrich feathers resembling a field of ripe corn rippling in the wind. There, a straw hat creates dappled light and shadow caressing the planes of a cheekbone. It was intuitive, enchanting, and surreal.

Maison Schiaparelli 2
Image Courtesy: Maison Schiaparelli
Image Courtesy: High Fashion TV
Image Courtesy: High Fashion TV
Image Courtesy: High Fashion TV

Flowers were Elsa’s favorite; once she took flower seeds and sowed them in her ears, mouth, and nose, in the hopes that she would blossom into beauty. “To have a face covered with flowers like a heavenly garden would indeed be a wonderful thing!” she wrote in her autobiography. Schiaparelli’s floral pieces this year celebrated their founder’s grand passion for flowers with pieces embellished with sunflowers and golden leaves, and tulips bursting forth.

Image Courtesy: Maison Schiaparelli 
Image Courtesy: Maison Schiaparelli

Last but not the least, Schiaparelli paid homage to Elsa’s lasting love for over-the-top boldness and sexy nonchalance with style statements unique in their creation…be it the dress created almost entirely of baroque pearls or the pale green, dreamy affair of satin and lace.


Image Courtesy: Maison Schiaparelli
Image Courtesy: Maison Schiaparelli

Each piece was handpicked and crafted lovingly into exquisite statements of High Fashion as one of the highest forms of art. The house of Schiaparelli had once again done what it set out to do; transforming the audience’s experience while breathing life into the creative force of the world of Elsa Schiaparelli.

By Parna Das

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