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Elsa Schiaparelli, an Italian stylist

SchockingElsa Schiaparelli, one of the famous Italian stylist we present in the course of History of Fashion, was born in Rome in 1890 from a very important and rich family, but she soon became a free spirit, an unconstrained and self-determining woman. In her youth after studying Philosophy she got married and spent the first part of her married life in Boston and New York. At the beginning of the twenties, when her husband abandoned her, she moved with her daughter to Paris where she started working in the world of fashion and became in a few years the most important fashion designer after Coco Chanel.
VestitoHer clothes were famous for being sophisticated, sometimes eccentric or shocking especially for the famous pink colour she created, but Elsa usually justified herself by riposting: “In difficult times fashion is always outrageous”.
Elsa also co-operated with the illustrator Christian Bérard and the artist Jean Cocteau; cubism and surrealism influenced her clothes considerably and part of her collection was created thanks to the help of Salvador Dalì.
CircoHer clothes turned out to be either very serious and dark or extremely colourful and made with unusual material (for example Elsa used tweed to make evening dress): she thought that “most women (and men) are color-blind and that they both should ask for suggestions”.
Paris had a great role in her life and she always loved this city. When the Nazis invaded France she fortunatetely managed to escape and left for America. During the period of the occupation of Paris, she worked hard in the U.S.A. in order to raise money for charity and help the French people, but as strange as it may seem, she refused to design clothes until France was liberated, even if she received many good offers of work. She used to say: “Poverty forced me to work, and Paris gave me a liking for it”.

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