The Principle: Make a Statement
Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 to 1973)
Then: Elsa Schiaparelli worked mere blocks from Coco Chanel in Paris, but their fashion approaches were miles apart. Where Chanel believed in the soft and the real, the Italian-born Schiaparelli promoted fantasy. Elaborately beaded, appliquéd, and embroidered, her work was often created in collaboration with surrealists, like Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. She felt it “was comparable to the things her friends were producing on canvas,” says Emma Baxter Wright, author of Vintage Fashion: Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics ($40, amazon.com). Schiaparelli’s legacy: exaggerated style (she popularized shoulder pads), exuberant color (including what she dubbed “shocking pink”), and the sense that fashion could be an adventure.
Now: Stand out in a vividly colored piece that dazzles with ornate details. While this lavish cardigan is a natural for evening, it works in the daytime, too. Just tone it down with a pair of jeans.