Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination
The couturière Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) was a key figure in Paris fashion between the two World Wars. Following in the footsteps of her mentor Paul Poiret, she designed her first knitwear collection in January 1927. Decorated with trompe-l’oeil motifs in black and white, her sweaters were an immediate success in both France and the USA. In 1935, the Maison Schiaparelli opened in the Place Vendôme in Paris, selling collections designed for sports, city and evening wear.
Like her arch-rival Gabrielle Chanel, Schiaparelli also worked closely with artists, including Man Ray, Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dalí, with whom she created a lobster dress. Taking a cue from Surrealism, her creations were hugely imaginative and made use of innovative new materials. The ‘Schiap’ style continued to develop through the 1930s. Her most famous collections had themes including the circus (summer 1938) and astrology (winter 1938–39). In 1937, Schiaparelli launched the fragrance Shocking, named after shocking pink, which had become her signature colour.
Alongside vintage photographs, sketches and contemporary features from Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, this volume presents specially photographed masterpieces from the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. All 120 garments and accessories from the Schiaparelli archive are illustrated, along with a selection of her drawings dating from 1933 to 1953.
Dr Glyn Morgan is the project curator for the ‘Science Fiction’ exhibition at the Science Museum, London. He is a former editor of Vector: The Critical Journal of the British Science Fiction Association. He frequently contributes to journals including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Science Fiction Studies Review and European History Quarterly. His publications include Imagining the Unimaginable: The Holocaust in Speculative Fiction and as editor, Sideways in Time: Critical Essays on Alternate History Fiction.