27 April 2010

Famous Feuds: Elsa Schiaparelli vs. Coco Chanel


Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel
Model: Linda Evangelista

Sunglasses featuring long blue eyelashes & small lenses were dreamed up by designer Schiaparelli in 1951.
Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer and is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars. Schiaparelli's designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. Schiaparelli did not adapt to the changes in fashion following World War II and her business closed in 1954. The failure of her buiness meant that Schiaparelli's name is not as well remembered as that of her great rival Chanel.

But in 1934, Time magazine placed Chanel in the second division of fashion, whereas Schiaparelli was one of "a handful of houses now at or near the peak of their power as arbiters of the ultra-modern haute couture....Madder and more original than most of her contemporaries, Mme Schiaparelli is the one to whom the word "genius" is applied most often".
Schiaparelli’s success caused intense envy on the part of Coco Chanel, her greatest rival. The two were continuously compared and constantly competed with one another. While Chanel was minimalist and conservative, Schiaparelli was outrageous and flamboyant and the pair fought to achieve popularity with the Parisian fashionistas. The rivalry was also heightened by the fact that the two designers moved frequently in the same social circles, with similar ambitions and aspirations. Chanel once called Schiaparelli 'that Italian artist who makes clothes'.