Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) was an Italian
fashion designer. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is
regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two
World Wars. Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli's designs were
heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dalí
and Alberto Giacometti. Her clients included the heiress Daisy Fellowes
and actress Mae West. Schiaparelli did not adapt to the changes in
fashion following World War II and her business closed in 1954.
In Paris, Schiaparelli - known as "Schiap" to her
friends - began making her own clothes. With some encouragement from
Paul Poiret, she started her own business but it closed in 1926 despite
favourable reviews. She launched a new collection of knitwear in
early 1927 using a special double layered stitch.
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