In the early part of the 20th century, Victorian taste was very ‘out of fashion’. In the 1930s a strong female fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, rediscovered the period and cast it in her own light. She commenced a series of collaborations and conversations between couture, art and interior design.
Schiaparelli’s playful engagement with shapes and surprising creations ranged from dresses to sofas, from brooches to decorative vases. Well before Prada she rehabilitated kitsch and ugliness. She broadened a sense of the ‘fashion arts’.
Learn about the creative circles of fashion and design in inter-war Paris, understand the ‘chic of poverty’ promoted by couturier Coco Chanel and interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, track the stylish South Americans, and follow the collaborative inter-war aesthetic project of fashion, fantasy and surrealism.
DR. PETER McNEIL is Distinguished Professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney and Distinguished Professor Aalto University. Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and Section Head for The Arts. His monograph ‘Pretty Gentlemen’: Macaroni Men and the Eighteenth-century Fashion World was published by Yale University Press in 2018.
A model in Elsa Schiaparelli’s gilded cage (by Jean-Michel Frank) in the Place Vendôme store, Paris, c1950. Photo by Ostier, courtesy Diktats Bookstore.