A Tale of Jealousy: Chanel vs Schiaparelli

— a thread✨
Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel were the two women dominating the fashion scene in Paris in the 1920s and 30s. Before Schiaparelli set foot in France, Chanel was the reigning female designer in Paris after WWW I ended. Women were gravitating towards her designs because she..
was making clothes that were comfortable, simple with mute colors, chic and not the corseted silhouette women were used to. Chanel was enjoying the role of being the “uncontested queen” of fashion which enabled her to be apart of the elite circle of Paris and have artists and...
...writers such as Dali, Picasso, and Cocteau who were in Paris at the time as her dear friends.
Schiaparelli on the other hand was a surrealist designer who incorporated art into her designs, she was eccentric and colorful with with her pieces. People flocked to her designs such as the Trompe-L’oeil sweater for example...
...which was instantly hailed as a “masterpiece” when it came out, because her designs were daring, unique and very different from what the other fashion houses were doing at the time.
Both of these women’s design took fashion to new heights but they did not like each other.
This rivalry between the two women was all due to Chanel’s jealousy and insecurity.
Chanel did not like the fact that Schiaparelli’s popularity was growing day by day with the affluent circle of Paris, especially when Schiaparelli did not have any formal training in clothes making. The two women who had different styles one who was simple and the other eccentric
...were soon enough moving in the same circles much to Chanel’s dismay. Chanel’s perhaps worst fear of being pushed in the “background” eventually happened because from the late 1920s all the way up to the time before WWW II started, Schiaparelli was in everyone mouth.
“She slapped Paris. She smacked it. She tortured it. She bewitched it. And it fell madly in love with her.” Yves Saint Laurent once proclaimed regarding Schiaparelli.
Schiaparelli would collaborate with Salvador Dali,Jean Cocteau, Bebe Bérard and more,making Coco Chanel feel some type of way because how dare her dear friends become close with somebody she did not like.
Chanel tried her hardest to dismiss Schiaparelli and once speaking of her as “that Italian artist who makes clothes.” Her effort to try to put her down was in vain because Schiaparelli was a strong woman who remained unbothered and who was determined to keep shining no matter.
The fact that she was incorporating her designs with surrealist art which was the art of the moment during that time period made her even more successful.
In 1934, she became the first ever female fashion designer to be put on the cover of the prestigious Time Magazine. “Mme Schiaparelli is the one (of all the couturiers in Paris) to whom the word “genius” is applied most often.” Time Magazine stated.
In 1937, The Lobster dress Schiaparelli designed with Salvador Dali went on to gain massive popularity after it was photographed by Cecil Beaton on former American Socialite and then soon to be Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson. The pictures of Simpson in the dress went on to
...be featured on an eight-page spread in Vogue magazine. Women’s Wear Daily went on to write an article of the clothes Simpson bought from Schiaparelli’s collection, the lobster dress was part of it as well. Chanel had to live in the shadow of Schiaparelli’s success.
It was alleged that leading up to WWW II, the two women found themselves at the same costume party. Chanel who was dressed as herself dared Schiaparelli who was costumed in a surrealist tree to dance with her. Chanel then managed to lead her right into...
...”a chandelier ablaze with candles,” Schiaparelli’s surrealist tree caught on fire. “The fire was put out— and so was Schiaparelli...”
World War II then broke out and hit both Schiaparelli’s and Chanel’s fashion houses hard. Schiaparelli would go on to leave Paris and move to New York in 1939. Things were much different upon her return to France, nobody was talking about her anymore, it was now Dior who was in..
...the spotlight and whom everyone was raving about.She would officially close her store in 1954. Chanel on the other hand close down her fashion house in 1939, went on to spend WWW II cozied up with her German Nazi officer, Von Dincklage. Chanel would comeback with a collection
...in 1954 but it was not taken well at all because the French knew about her involvement with the enemy, “The French press was beyond horrible to her,” once said Karl Lagerfeld. But the Americans and British loved her comeback collection.
The Chanel fashion house was barely in the spotlight anymore. And that was until Karl Lagerfeld took over The fashion house and made it an international success. Chanel’s name was back in people’s mouths but Schiaparelli completely faded out of the spotlight.
Unless they were in the fashion world, people didn’t know much about the Schiaparelli fashion house until it was revived in 2014. Schiaparelli remains one of the most innovative fashion designers and her pieces will forever be iconic.
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