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A photo showing a wall of mounting and framed drawings by Elsa Schiaparelli. Each drawing is of a different dress.

Daily Helping for February 12th, 2023 – Elsa Schiaparelli

In my quest to learn more about the world of fashion, I recently visited the exhibition Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. I knew basically nothing about Elsa Schiaparelli as a fashion designer going in. But I did know that she and Coco Chanel were bitter rivals in the first half of the 20th century in Paris. So I was eager to learn more about Schiaparelli and her life’s work.

I wish I could say that I came out of that exhibition with a better understanding of the history of fashion. Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go on that front. But I absolutely came out of my visit with a far greater appreciation for the artistry that goes into the creation of fashion. The first room of the exhibition contained row after row of drawings and sketches that Elsa Schiaparelli created throughout her career. Apparently she planned every outfit and design in great detail on paper before bringing them to life. And I believe it. I spent a long time in that room, looking at each individual image, and very much appreciating the many works of art on display. I may not yet be knowledgeable about why these images are historically significant. But my fashion appreciation journey has well and truly begun!

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!