Schiaparelli at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris (MAD)

Shocking! Elsa Schiaparelli’s surreal worlds at the Museum of Decorative Arts (MAD) by Frédéric Blanc (journalist) and Saskia Blanc (photos) for Fashion-Spider.

Over the years, the Museum of Decorative Arts (MAD) in Paris has become the place to go for major fashion exhibitions in Paris. After the success of Mugler’s “Couturissime”, the museum celebrates the workof Elsa Schiaparelli for seven months.

Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli has established herself as one of the most prestigious French brands.  A lover of the arts, she has been nourished throughout her life by her privileged relationship with artists from the middle of the Parisian avant-garde from the 1920s to the 1930s. Almost 20 years after the retrospective dedicated to her in 2004, the MAD wanted to revisit her work in order to make the public discover her innovative fantasy, her taste for performance and her artistic modernity.

The exhibition brings together no less than 350 works, including 272 costumes and fashion accessories, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, perfume bottles, ceramics, posters and photographs signed by the biggest names of the time, from Man Ray to Salvador Dali, from Jean Cocteau to Meret Oppenheim or Elsa Triolet.

A must-see in the history of the house, the retrospective also looks at the afterlife of Elsa by highlighting silhouettes interpreted by famous fashion designers paying tribute to her such as Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix. Also unmissable is the work of Daniel Roseberry, the current artistic director of the house, who has performed the legacy of Elsa Schiaparelli since 2019.

John Galliano
Schiaparelli by Daniel Roseberry

Combining a thematic and chronological approach, the exhibition is organized on two levels around the key moments of Elsa Schiaparelli’s work, bringing together the most remarkable collections, from year to year, some of which relate to the artists involved. These artistic themes punctuate the stages of the great designer’s life. The introduction room immerses the visitor in an environment totally dedicated to the drawings of the collections of Schiaparelli preserved by hundreds. They show the extent of the designer’s work.

Her passion for the work of Paul Poiret, whom she met in 1922, was also reflected in her career as a seamstress!

The exhibition continues with thematic collections based on Elsa’s cherished inspirations, such as Italian Antiquity, nature and music.

The second floor opens with a reconstruction of the couture salons, then located at 21 Place Vendôme in Paris, which it inaugurated in 1935.

Inseparable from the work of this great artist, a « cage aux parfums » reveals the setting of her original olfactory creations, including the famous « shocking » which will become a worldwide success, giving full meaning to the great sense of marketing of the designer.

The Sun King

The tour ends with the contemporary silhouettes created by Daniel Roseberry with a spectacular finale that sensitively and forcefully reflects the surreal inspiration of his eminent founder.

Schiaparelli by Daniel Roseberry

With this masterful installation, MAD Paris offers a unique opportunity to discover a unique heritage that is an integral part of fashion history.

The exhibition is presented in the fashion galleries Christine & Stephen A. Schwarzman in a poetic and immersive scenography entrusted to Nathalie Crinière.

Exposure: Shocking! Elsa Schiaparelli’s surreal worlds from 6 July 2022 to 22 January 2023

MAD: 107 rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st

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