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Shocking Life: the autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli [Paperback]

Elsa Schiaparelli
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Mar 2007
"A dress from Schiaparelli ranks like a modern canvas" - "The New Yorker". Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was one of the leading fashion designers of the 1920s and 1930s with a flair for the unusual. The first to use shoulder pads, animal print and the inventor of shocking pink, Schiaparelli collaborated with artists including Jean Cocteau, Alberto Giacometti and Salvador Dali, to create extraordinary garments such as the Dali Lobster Dress. Schiaparelli had an affluent clientele, from Katherine Hepburn to Marlene Dietrich, who embraced her outrageous but elegant designs. She designed aviator Amy Johnson's wardrobe for her solo flight to Cape Town in 1936, the culottes for tennis champion Lily d'Alvarez that outraged the lawn tennis establishment, and her clothes appeared in more than 30 films including "Every Day's a Holiday with Mae West" and "Moulin Rouge". Schiaparelli's fascinating autobiography charts her rise from resident of a rat-infested apartment to designer to the stars.

Frequently Bought Together

Shocking Life: the autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli + The Little Book of Schiaparelli + Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations: On Fashion (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Price For All Three: 39.78

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Product details

  • Paperback: 211 pages
  • Publisher: V & A Publications (5 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851775153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851775156
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 17 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`As a sketch of a limited, intelligent world of couture this retains its magic' -- Guardian, 2007

`The fascinating first in a new series of republished autobiographies from iconic fashion designers'
-- bridge4design, 2007

About the Author

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was one of the leading fashion designers of the 1920s and 1930s with a flair for the unusual.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Vicky
Format:Paperback
The book makes for a fascinating read. She has a very engaging style and the book flows easily. In some areas it can become a little pretentious, so if you fancy a book where you can revel in the fabulousness of Fashion, this is the right choice for you. The influence that Schiaparelli had on fashion is sometimes blocked out by her contemporaries, or to be more specific blocked out by Chanel. However, despite the continued success of Chanel, Schiaparelli's work is no less important. It's really interesting to realise how much we take for granted in modern fashion and how rebellious and shocking some things were in their first guise, for example unusual buttons and newspaper print. A remarkable designer; a stupendous influence; a truly amusing writer and lady; a shocking life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Artist of Fashion 2 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If someone wrote a book on 'the first times in fashion', Schiaparelli would be featured in half of the book, much more than her rival Chanel. If you know Schiaparelli, there is no need to tell you how amazing she is and why you should read this book. If you don't, then it's time to stop living in sin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining 8 April 2013
By Culture Enthusiast TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If you love fashion this is a must read. The book is very entertaining as Schiap's style is very creative. She switches from third to first person as it is the most natural thing to do. She is very engaging, never patronising. The tone of the book is uplifting. It is not clear why Schiap is less "famous" than Chanel as the former was clearly not less creative or talented than the latter. Probably it is because Schiap has shut down her firm after the second world war whilst Chanel is still running (very successfully) nowadays. Such a shame the book lacks pictures. I think this is a great opportunity to read how the world of fashion worked at the beginning of 1900 from one of the key people herself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and infuriating all at once! 25 July 2011
By Carol
Format:Paperback
A fascinating woman who lived in equally fascinating times, but the constant switching between the first and third person, sometimes even mid-sentence, drove me mad. Writing in the third person always makes me think a person believes in their own myth, and I think Schiaparelli did.

I am none the wiser as to why Chanel's fame has outlasted Schiaparelli's, from what I've read on both women she was certainly the more interesting and colourful character with just as much impact on fashion from her own time until now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting. Look at the lives of the fashion designers. See how Elsa Schiaparelli came to the fame and cope with the fame.
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