The “shocking life” of Elsa Schiaparelli

The “shocking life” of Elsa Schiaparelli

Andrea Tuzio · 5 months ago · Style

It is news of a couple of days ago that, starting from July 6, 2022, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris will open its doors a brand new exhibition dedicated to Elsa Schiaparelli who, along with Coco Chanel, is considered as one of the most important and decisive figures of fashion in the period between the two world wars. 
Shocking Chic: Les mondes surréalistes d’Elsa Schiaparelli, this is the title of this retrospective on the designer – of which you can buy tickets here – costume designer and dressmaker Italian naturalized French, which will be open until January 22 next year.

I take advantage of this interesting and wonderful initiative to tell the life, history and career of one of the most influential women in fashion history.

“Designing clothes, let it be said in passing, is not a profession but an art. It is one of the most difficult and disappointing arts because as soon as the dress is born, it already belongs to the past. A dress does not remain attached to the wall like a painting, nor does it lead the long intact and preserved existence of a book”. 
The words pronounced by Elsa Schiaparelli to define her work is a perfect summation of her way of seeing fashion and the world. Art first of all, codified through her non-conformist and very original style, which began to manifest itself right from the start, but let’s start from the beginning. 

Elsa Luisa Maria Schiparelli was born in Rome, in Palazzo Corsini, on September 10, 1890 in a family of Piedmontese intellectuals: her mother, Giuseppa Maria de Dominicis, was of Neapolitan origin while her father, Celestino Schiaparelli, from Piedmont, was the first librarian of the Accademia dei Lince, one of the oldest scientific institutions in Europe. Not to consider his uncle Giovanni Schiaparelli, famous astronomer and his cousin Egyptologist and senator, Ernesto Schiaparelli.

When she was 6 years old, in order to answer to her mother who constantly told her how ugly she was, Elsa decided to cover her face with flowers, or at least that was her intention. She managed to get the gardener to give her some seeds and she put them in her mouth, in her ears, in her throat because she thought they would grow with the heat. Obviously this was not the case, he risked only to suffocate. 

She studied philosophy and dreamed of becoming a poet – she also published a collection of poems – but her family was against it and she was sent to a Swiss convent. The passion for philosophy, however, allowed her to meet in London, during a conference of the Theosophical Society where she traveled in 1913, Wilhel de Wendt, a count now fallen into disgrace passionate about philosophy. 

Radha aka “Gogo” in 1920 and where Elsa met the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. The marriage ended in divorce in 1922, due to her husband’s constant cheating, and Elsa was left alone with Gogo. 

After returning to Europe and settling in Paris, she met stylist Paul Poiret by chance during a walk, and became his pupil almost immediately. It is the same Schiap, her nickname with which she was accustomed to refer to herself, to tell of the encounter that changed her life: “One day I accompanied a rich American friend to Paul Poiret’s small and colorful tailor shop. It was the first time I had ever entered a maison de couture. I wore a loose-fitting, soft-cut coat that could have been designed today. ‘Why don’t you take it Mademoiselle? It looks like it was made especially for you’. ‘I can’t afford it,’ I said, ‘it is certainly too expensive, and besides, when could I wear it?’ ‘Don’t worry about money,’ replied Poiret, ‘you can wear anything in any situation’”.

Her first works as a model designer were not very successful, the companies with which she worked did not want to deal with a beginner, but she decided that she would not give up and in 1927 she opened her studio in an apartment at 4 rue de la Paix in Paris.

His creations were incredible and crazy: His first sweater, completely black and with a large white trompe-l’oeil bow; the “chic melancholy of Italian softness” knit, so defined by Janet Flanner of the New Yorker; the themes of his garments such as pierced hearts, the typical tattoos of sailors were a first; the “X-ray pullovers”, so called because they traced the bones of the body; the “crazy hat”, a small knitted hat that could take any kind of shape; and his first iconic evening dresses.

Her popularity grew by leaps and bounds, so much so that on August 13, 1934, Time magazine put her on its cover – the first woman designer to receive this “honor”, describing her as “crazier and more original than most of her contemporaries, Schiaparelli is the one for whom the term ‘genius’ is most frequently used. Even to her closest friends, the lady remains an enigma”.

Come dicevo all’inizio l’arte ebbe sin da subito un ruolo fondamentale nell’atto creativo per Elsa As I said at the beginning, art had a fundamental role in the creative act for Elsa Schiaparelli from the very beginning and in fact, since 1935 she started to realize collaborations with Christian Bérard, Léonor Fini, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, Mere Oppenheim and Pablo Picasso

His presentations were not mere parades, but performances in their own right as in a kind of new theatrical form. The theme of mask and play were very present in his work of the time, experimentation of all kinds dominated his provocations. 

The invention of shocking pink came precisely from his ability to experiment. It was launched in 1937 and was used in many collections. 
In ’35 came the first accessory made together with Dalí and designed by him: a compact compact in the shape of a telephone dial on which you could “write your name”, a true work of art.

Elsa Schiaparelli was also the first designer to come up with themed collections such as: Papillon of 1937, Cirque of ’38 and Fall Pagan of 1938, inspired by Botticelli’s paintings. 

World War II led Schiaparelli to move to the United States, where her daughter Gogo lived, but she continued to keep her Parisian atelier open, relocated to 21 Palace Vendôme. 

The great success of Christian Dior and his New Look and the end of the Second World War, began the twilight of Elsa Schiaparelli’s incredible career. Traveling began to be an inescapable part of Elsa’s life: Rome, Hammamet, New York were fixed stops.

Despite the fact that Hubert de Givenchy had started to work in his atelier, the fame of the brand slowly faded, also due to the distance of Elsa, who had decided to spend her life between Tunisia and Paris, farther and farther away from the world of fashion. 

Elsa Luisa Maria Schiparelli died on November 13, 1973, at the age of 83, leaving an indissoluble legacy that has decisively inspired geniuses of the caliber of Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo and so on and so forth.

Extravagant, eccentric, dreamer, artist, Elsa Schiaparelli was an atypical visionary and tremendously forward so as to make her work untouchable even to the passage of time, making her creations immortal. 

The “shocking life” of Elsa Schiaparelli
The “shocking life” of Elsa Schiaparelli
The “shocking life” of Elsa Schiaparelli
1 · 9
2 · 9
3 · 9
4 · 9
5 · 9
6 · 9
7 · 9
8 · 9
9 · 9
Italian dualism

Italian dualism

Giorgia Massari · 1 week ago · Photography

June 2 – Italian Republic Day – is a day that has the power to make feel patriotic even the Italians, who are famous for not being patriotic when compared to others, such as the Americans or the British. In fact, if we must be honest, there are more times when Italians criticize her, Italy, than the times when they pause to appreciate and love her. Perhaps, the times when Italians love her the most is when they are away from her. When what they miss is even a simple plate of spaghetti or the crazy horns in traffic.
Photographer Irene Ferri, with her project IT∀LIA, reasons precisely about this. On “Italian dualism,” on the hate-love that characterizes their feelings toward what is their land. A dualism that recurs often in Italy, North and South, sacred and profane, tradition and innovation, and that characterized that day, June 2, 1946, when the choice was made between Monarchy or Republic, between an old Italy or a new, renewed and democratic one.
With IT∀LIA, Irene Ferri challenges these contradictions and takes Italians to celebrate their country through a participatory project that has lasted since 2020. Online she opens a box in which she invites Italians to answer the questions: What ties you to Italy? What do you miss when you are far away? In this way, the thoughts of hundreds of Italians are translated into evocative shots capable of making us smile and move.

Irene Ferri Italia |

The Italy project stems from the personal story of photographer Irene Ferri who, after years living in Los Angeles, felt the call of her homeland. In the States she was surrounded by people who constantly told her how beautiful Italy was and how much they appreciated it. “I usually hear more appreciation from foreigners than from Italians. We are a very critical people compared to others. Social media is teeming with negative and heavy comments on everything, on every decision, even on the weather.” says Irene. Hence the decision to create something for Italians, a photo archive to remind them that this nation is worth loving. Despite the fact that they choose to leave it for a while or forever and even if they can only appreciate it if they are a little further away.

Irene Ferri Italia |
Watching the Italian national soccer team play and hearing the same TV audio coming from all homes, cheering together or crying together.” Giulia
Irene Ferri Italia |
Italy is driving in the summer in the country and stopping at the greengrocer on the side of the road. The approximate quantities on a rusty arm scale, the total to pay scribbled on a crumpled sheet, a few extra handfuls of cherries added at the end with a wink. And getting back on the road, sinking my hand into the bag and savoring the summer, tossing the kernels out the window.” Jasmin

Back in Italy, Irene Ferri tells us how what she missed most of all was the concept of the square, that mingling of people and the din of laughter, of words spoken aloud. “On my return to Italy, I had a positive shock,” says Irene, “I went to the supermarket and once at the cashier’s desk, while I was rummaging through my wallet looking for money, the cashier said, ‘Don’t worry, if you don’t have it, bring it to me tomorrow.‘ I was stunned. It had been three years since I had heard something like that.

Reflections like Irene’s come flooding into her inbox, and from here her Italian journey begins, in search of that Italian-ness and those memories evoked by people. Irene Ferri’s archive is now full of shots that are sometimes romantic, sometimes more ironic, telling Italy through the eyes of those who love it, from near or far. From the laundry spread out in the sun to the rosary swinging from the rearview mirror. From set tables to somewhat improvised soccer fields.

Below are some of the photographs, accompanied by the suggestions received.

Irene Ferri Italia |
“The local markets, the stalls, the people shouting, the scents assaulting you, tasting a strawberry and then buying a box.” Marta
Irene Ferri Italia |
The smell of laundry hung out in the sun mixed with the heady scents of the oven, and of Sunday lunch invading the squares from the windows of the houses….” Stefania
Irene Ferri Italia |
Since I left Italy I feel more connected to her. As they say, when you lose something you understand its importance! If I close my eyes, I can “teleport” to my grandparents’ house by the sea. In the morning, Dad would leave early to go and plant the umbrella in the front row. I love to sit under the big palm tree in the garden with the awning as blue as the sea. Grandpa, after sunset would start looking for tellinis, we would watch him from the shore.” Martina
Irene Ferri Italia |
What ties me to my country is the possibility of saying to a shopkeeper, “I’m 80 cents short, I’ll bring it to you tomorrow,” and hearing back, “Don’t worry! And that we don’t have to see each other anymore?!” Cettina
Irene Ferri Italia |
Italy is that place where the sacred and the profane meet. A statue of the Virgin guarding a soccer field in a sultry hallway in Scalea, collections of spiked clubs for sale next to souvenirs of the relics of St. Francis in the alleys of Assisi, models parading in front of Lecce Cathedral.” Manuela
Irene Ferri Italia |
The bag of fresh vegetables from the garden and the jars of preserves that my aunt and uncle hang on my doorknob when I am away. Sometimes flowers and slices of fragrant apple pie also sprout from in there, and when I get home and find it hanging there waiting for me, I already know it will be an evening of beautiful and warm thoughts.” Alessandra
Irene Ferri Italia |
Summers spent in Scauri, reading the “Cioè” magazine under the beach umbrella and falling hopelessly in love with the kids playing foosball on the lido.” Serena
Irene Ferri Italia |
For me, Italy is the Rustichella at the autogrill on car trips with my father, Edoardo Bennato’s ‘puppet without strings’ record on loop at full volume throughout the trip.” Ginevra
Irene Ferri Italia |
Irene Ferri Italia |

Courtesy and credits Irene Ferri

Italian dualism
Italian dualism
Italian dualism
1 · 15
2 · 15
3 · 15
4 · 15
5 · 15
6 · 15
7 · 15
8 · 15
9 · 15
10 · 15
11 · 15
12 · 15
13 · 15
14 · 15
15 · 15
Frank Ocean has published a book of his photographs

Frank Ocean has published a book of his photographs

Andrea Tuzio · 4 days ago · Photography

After his performance at Coachella 2023 not without controversy, we are back to talking about Frank Ocean but for completely different issues.

Homer, the independent luxury brand launched two years ago by the Long Beach artist himself and whose main focus is on making and selling jewelry such as pendants, rings, necklaces, diamond earrings, and bracelets made of recycled silver and 18-karat gold, all handcrafted in Italy and featuring fun shapes and bright colors, has released a photo book.

As a matter of fact, since a few days ago it has been possible to order Mutations, a 48-page photo book that represents a retrospective of works made between October 19 and December 22, 2022, mostly photos taken by Ocean himself, on Homer’s website at the price of 90€.
A series of shots that show us a new, unique side of the U.S. singer and that show, once again, how refined and refined his aesthetic is.

If you want to take home a real collector’s item like Mutations, Frank Ocean’s photo book, just click here.

Frank Ocean has published a book of his photographs
Frank Ocean has published a book of his photographs
Frank Ocean has published a book of his photographs
1 · 3
2 · 3
3 · 3
Alana Celii’s melancholic landscapes

Alana Celii’s melancholic landscapes

Anna Frattini · 3 days ago · Photography

Alana Celii is an American photographer who redefines time and meaning by capturing landscapes and subjects with a melancholic and timeless aura. Alana currently is a photo research editor working in tech. Previously she worked at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and TIME. Her first monograph, Paradise Falling, is a series of photographs that redefine the feeling of loss by showing what it means to feel lost through metaphors that delve into astrology, myth, and symbolism.

For Celii, nature serves as a starting point, sometimes captured seamlessly and spontaneously. After Paradise Falling, the photographer embarked on a new project exploring the landscapes of the West Coast after moving to California. In these images, the Californian influence is evident in the textures and vibrant colors, which are unmistakable in the vast landscapes captured by the photographer.

To discover more of Alana Celii’s photographs, visit her Instagram profile.

Ph. courtesy Alana Celii

Alana Celii’s melancholic landscapes
Alana Celii’s melancholic landscapes
Alana Celii’s melancholic landscapes
1 · 12
2 · 12
3 · 12
4 · 12
5 · 12
6 · 12
7 · 12
8 · 12
9 · 12
10 · 12
11 · 12
12 · 12
The unpredictable shots by Nicolas Polli

The unpredictable shots by Nicolas Polli

Anna Frattini · 2 days ago · Photography

Nicolas Polli‘s photography captures unpredictable moments, giving life to everyday objects. Not only a photographer but also a graphic designer and publisher, Polli seems to never stop. In his still life images, there is nothing ordinary; each element comes to life, assuming new meanings.

In 2012, he co-founded the photographic magazine YET with Salvatore Vitale, and in 2016, Atelier CIAO – an independent studio specializing in editorial design and still life – constantly collaborating with luxury brands and design. Now also a resident artist at Atelier Robert in Bienne, Switzerland, Nicolas Polli focuses on still life. All of this, after inventing an expedition to Ferox, an imaginary planet, in 2017.

In Ferox, The Forgotten Files: A Journey to the Hidden Moon of Mars 1976–2010 Polli plays with our inability to discern the real from the unreal. In his still life works, he reflects on our fragile relationship with everyday objects. When the familiar shapes of these objects change in unusual ways, everything changes, including our perception. In When Strawberries Will Grow on Trees, I Will Kiss U, the combination of a banana peel, a croissant, and some cigarette butts takes on a particularly disturbing meaning, but it all works, managing to show us the objects of our daily lives from a completely foreign perspective.

Ph. courtesy Nicolas Polli

To discover more of Nicolas Polli’s shots, visit his Instagram profile.

The unpredictable shots by Nicolas Polli
The unpredictable shots by Nicolas Polli
The unpredictable shots by Nicolas Polli
1 · 7
2 · 7
3 · 7
4 · 7
5 · 7
6 · 7
7 · 7