Evening dress, Schiaparelli

Evening dress, Schiaparelli

Evening dress
Elsa Schiaparelli, (1890-1973)
1940, Paris
Black silk crepe, embroidered with pearls, sequins and metallic strip, and fastened with a plastic zip
Museum no. T.48-1965
Worn and given by the designer

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) enjoyed the enormous publicity that her more bizarre creations generated, but her less provocative designs rarely caused a furore and have been somewhat neglected. She often referred to her simple black dresses and their versatility, and regularly wore black herself. Schiaparelli gave this dress to the V&A after her retirement.

Here she composed a short-sleeved dress in matt black crepe. The extremely simple, fluid shape is relieved by a slashed neckline and a bold embroidered spray of lilies (by the specialist embroidery company Lesage) in various sizes of pearls, sequins and metallic strip. The dress fastens with a black plastic zip on the left-hand side.