A small history of the SKELETON DRESS

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Schiapparelli was born in a family of aristocrats of Italian origins, descendants of the Medici family. At a certain point, she transferred to New York, and then to Paris, where she encountered Paul Poiret, whose garments inspired her to become a designer. She began as a freelancer designing sports garments. Her first international recognition arrived when designing a knit pullover with a white trompe-l’oel bow motif, being featured in American Vogue.

The Thirties of the last century, marked the beginning of the “Golden Age” in Hollywood, with a growing celebrity culture, and along with it, a rising interest in fashion.

Being a visionary in so many aspects, she collaborated with other artists, like Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, André Breton, and others. Therefore, particularly her Haute Couture style was signed by fearless being so expressive!

Quite challenging at those times.

The long length SKELETON dress was part of the Collection “Le Cirque” (1938), a collaboration of two great artists, Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvadore Dali.

This dress was made of black silk crèpe, with a high neckline and plastic zippers (two on the shoulders, and two on the sides), embracing the body entirely, from the fingertips to the ankles. Moreover, the dress was three dimensional, featuring a trapunto quilting technique to make evident the thorax with vertebrae, hips, and leg bones.

It was avantguarde, yet classic in terms of the silhouette having a surrealistic aspect looking like a “second skin”.

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was the one who opened the doors of the fashion world, transforming an “exclusive” club meant for a few into a “show” opened to everybody.

She was the first designer to start collaborating with other artists, like painters and writers. Elsa loved a simple silhouette with strong shoulders, structured lines, and a long tight skirt.

These elements would emphasize a woman’s figure, visually elongating legs, making the waistline look slimmer, and underlining feminine hips. Her atypical ideas were provocative, and oftenly protested and criticized by the society of those times.

She became a legend by creating a fashion style unique and recognizable, that was avantguarde and outrageous.

Schiaparelli dresses

After the II WW, she closed her Fashion House, not wanting to accept the “New Look” proposed by Dior with puffy skits.

Nevertheless, years later, her house reopened, continuing until today to release statement avantguarde pieces for Haute Couture Fashion, and dress the most daring women of our modern society.

Her work until today is an infinite source of inspiration!

Best wishes,


MetropolitanMe Blogger