Elsa Schiaparelli was a very prominent Italian fashion designer. She is considered as one of the best fashion designers, alongside Coco Chanel, between World War I and World War II. She is well known for her surrealist designs and when she did not change her designs to reflect the fashion changes after the second World War, she was forced to close her business. She received encouragement to open her own business designing clothes from French fashion designer Paul Poiret.
Many of her designs appeared in Vogue and came from collaborations from surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau to help her design her clothing. With Cocteau she designed a jacket and evening coat. The designs she did with Dali were never officially named, and these were the ones she was best known for. The designs are simply known as:
Lobster Dress: a 1937 simple white silk evening dress with a crimson waistband featuring a large lobster on the skirt. Dali painted the lobster.
Tears Dress: This dress was part of the 1938 Circus Collection. It was a slender white evening gown printed with a Dali design of rips and tears. The dress was worn with a thigh length veil.
Skeleton Dress: This dress was also part of the 1938 Circus Collection. It was a stark black crepe dress with padded bones resembling a skeleton.
Shoe Hat: The 1937-38 collection featured a hat shaped like a high heeled shoe. The heel of the shoe stands straight up and the toe points over the head of the person wearing the hat.
Though Schiaperelli was well known for her contributions, she stood her ground about her fashion sense, and when the times changed, she did not change with them to keep her fame and fortune.