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by on March 12, 2012

Way before Takashi Murakami splattered paint all over Louis Vuitton, Salvador Dalí and Elsa Schiaparelli pioneered the artist and designer collaboration.

Surreal World: Salvador Dalí and Elsa Schiaparelli

Schiaparelli managed to turn fashion into an art form with innovative designs and concepts such as creating a jacket with plastic hands in place of buttons. Schiap’s forward-thinking approach to design caused her rival Gabrielle Chanel to deride her as “that Italian artist who makes clothes.” Sounds like someone was totes jealz.

Throughout the twenties and thirties, Schiap was friends with several Surrealist artists including Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Jean Cocteau, but it was Dalí who would have the greatest influence on her.

He would also have an influence on Coco Chanel as the two allegedly had an affair while Dalí  was still married. Yeah, someone was super jealz.

Elsa Schiaparelli’s career in and influence on fashion will be highlighted this summer when Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion debuts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. But until then, here’s how Schiap and Dalí changed the face of fashion.

In 1936, inspired by Dalí’s painting Anthropomorphic Cabinet, the two created suits and jackets with bureau-drawers as pockets.


Contributed by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail