My mother was wearing a full-skirted dress, patterned with tiny, white, dancing sailors when she told me about Elsa Schiaparelli, the Surrealist artist, who designed and sold Fashion.
On ‘Woman’s Hour,’ some time later, I heard that Schiaparelli’s, Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition, 2003, catalogue was on sale. I asked for it, as a Christmas present. Large format, in her signature Shocking Pink, written by Dilys E. Blum, it became an influences on how I would write about Fashion, soon to be featured in ‘Vivienne Westwood and Anglomania at the Met.’
Now, as I set off on a crazy schedule of book signings, things have come full circle. That little gem of on-line journalism, Hint Magazine, tells of exciting plans to make New York Metropolitan Museum’s next show, live up to the the sensation of Alexander McQueen’s ‘Savage Beauty’.
News is that Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada will be dual subjects of next year’s exhibition. Both Italian divas are favourites of mine; probably because of Prada’s politics and my early introduction to Elsa, and her defining pink begonias.
The show will mix Schiaparelli’s surreal oeuvre from the late twenties to early fifties with Prada’s work from the late eighties to today. The high-tech angle is that Amazon, will set up an imagined conversation, with topics ranging from art to politics. It will take on views from ‘FASHION MEDIA PROMOTION the new black magic,’ that Schiaparelli ‘offered a unique take on fashion, favoring wit over traditional glamour.’ Is it zeitgeist or have I a follower in Andrew Bolton, from the Met?
Below: the inventive genius Schiaparelli put on a spectacle, only loosely related to shopping, when she brought her aristocratic vision to Paris in 1927.
I will try to throw light on these questions at WATERSTONE’S signings: Manchester, Deansgate, Thursday 27th, October, 7pm. London, Covent Garden, Monday 7th, November, 6pm. London, Oxford Street Plaza, Wednesday 9th November, 12noon to 2pm. Sheffield, Orchard Square, Thursday 17th November, 5pm.