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Elsa Schiaparelli

(1890-1973), Fashion designer

Sitter in 2 portraits
Born in Rome, Schiaparelli was a leading fashion designer in the interwar period. To avoid an unwanted marriage, she fled to London in 1913, where she met and married the psychic Wilhelm de Kerlor. In 1916 they left for America; en route she met Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia, who introduced her to Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen - connecting her to London and Paris art circles. Following her divorce in 1924, Schiaparelli returned to Paris and began her fashion house. She took an original approach to traditional fabrics - describing her profession as an art form. In 1933 Schiaparelli opened a London office, with clients including Daisy Fellowes and Wallis Simpson. Cecil Beaton was a frequent collaborator.

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Elsa Schiaparelli, by Man Ray - NPG P2019

Elsa Schiaparelli

by Man Ray
gelatin silver print, circa 1930
NPG P2019

Elsa Schiaparelli, by Cecil Beaton - NPG x40358

Elsa Schiaparelli

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1930s
NPG x40358

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