Coco Chanel is a household name known all over the world. But when a name such as Schiaparelli is announced, many are no longer familiar, some may have never even heard of her. One of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two world wars, Elsa Schiaparelli’s most important legacy was in bringing in playfulness and a sense of “anything goes” into the world of fashion. During the 1930’s, while Chanel (Schiaparelli’s greatest rival) was placed by Time Magazine in the second divisions of fashion, Schiaparelli was being praised as one of "a handful of houses now at or near the peak of their power as arbiters of the ultra-modern haute couture....Madder and more original than most of her contemporaries, Mme Schiaparelli is the one to whom the word "genius" is applied most often.”
Known popularly for her avant-garde and surrealists designs, her love of putting together different colors, shapes and textures as well as embracing modern technologies and materials at the time was what had earned her the title of ‘genius’. Her brilliant innovations in fashion design were numerous, from being the first to use visible zippers in clothing, to the creation of the wedge shoe, the barbaric belt, the embroidered shirts, wrapped turbans, and the use of fanciful buttons, to even the concept of mixing and matching sportswear. But it was her creation of the runway show as we know it today that has become most influential. It was her idea of a modern fashion show to include a runway with music and art, and to use elongated, shapeless women as models. She believed that the boyish figure was best for displaying clothing.
Many people now do not know the impact Schiaparelli has on fashion and the fashion industry. That’s why I decided to pay a little tribute to her. If not for her beautiful mind, fashion might not be as exciting as it is today.