Elsa Schiaparelli: costumes created for the cinema

Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as a famous designer, was also an important costume designer

Among the greatest couturiers of the twentieth century, Elsa Schiaparelli he is the figure most associated with inspiration, extravagance and excesses of surrealism. Muse of Salvador Dalì who considered her clothes as true works of art, the famous designer has unveiled the imaginative side of fashion: buttons that look like little swimmers, embroideries that recreate optical illusions, upholstered fabrics with a relief motif that follows the human skeleton, not to mention the profusion of pink, the color par excellence of the maison, which boasts a nuance of its own, shocking, intense and provocative: pink Schiaparelli.

Portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli

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In addition to dressing the most important personalities of the time, Elsa has collaborated extensively with the world of cinema, creating the stage costumes for well 30 movies, starting with A Gentleman of Paris of Sinclair Hill of 1931, and ending with Moulin Rouge of John Huston of 1952. Of these, four in particular have entered the myth for their eccentricity and pomp, with clothes worn by extraordinary actresses such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mae West is Wendy Hiller. To discover the incredible and kaleidoscopic world of Elsa Schiaparelli through the lens of a camera, here are four films with the most beautiful costumes ever made by Elsa Schiaparelli.

Every Day’s A Holiday – Albert Edward Sutherland (1937)

We are at the end of the nineteenth century, e Mae West plays a charming actress who, to escape the New York police, disguises herself as a French dancer, making the captain of the department in charge of arresting her fall in love. The phantasmagorics morals they resume the opulence made of feathers and crystals characteristic of the Belle Époque, with large cloaks, mermaid silhouettes, and large decorated hats. The favorite fabric is velvet, in a thousand shades ranging from scarlet red to black, but there are also clothes covered with sequin powder pink. Also very important are the jewelry, majestic and almost regal, with large crystal string necklaces and maxi chandelier earrings.

Pygmalion – Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard (1938)

Taken from the great masterpiece of George Bernard Shaw, the film sees Wendy Hiller as Eliza Dolittle, a young flower seller who, under the guidance of the rigid Professor Higgins (Leslie Howard), will manage to enter the high society of London. There is a touch of Victorian style, homage to the author of the play, with splendid tuba hair and collars rich in ruffles, which are associated with characteristic details of the 20s fashionlike short haircuts Louise Brooks. Furthermore, with reference to classicism of the character (Pygmalion, artist of ancient Greece, falls in love with a statue of the goddess Aphrodite created by himself), some clothes worn by Wendy recall the peppers of Hellenism, with soft and bright silk drapes accompanied by important ones opera gloves and delicate jewels, including a splendid tiara.

Perfidia – Robert Bresson (1945)

María Casarès it is Hélène, a woman betrayed and left by her lover, who matures a bitter revenge against him and his young wife. In this case, the aesthetic chosen by Elsa is that of the traditional one femme fatale: black midi dresses and long-sleeved, with one soft and wide neckline which turns into an elegant hood, big hats dark combined with the inevitable gloves, and a sensual loungewear (strictly black) with necklines edged with transparent fabric.

Moulin Rouge – John Huston (1952)

With a splendid Zsa Zsa Gabor, the film tells the life of the famous French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, faithful patron of the famous Parisian cabaret theater, and of his tragic loves. Elsa ‘s costumes reach the peak of her creative flair here: the clothes are inspired by the he put on can-can dancers, with colorful bustier and skirts with white petticoats. Memorable are certainly the long black dress decorated with an oblique striped motif in silver sequin, with skirt edged with red and feathers wide matching hat, and the little pink dress with a large fabric flower that decorates a shoulder, with matching long gloves in ton sur ton.

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