Author(s): Meryle Secrest
"A wonderful insight into a life that history hasn't remembered as well as it should have." (Vogue). One of the most extraordinary fashion designers of the twentieth century, Elsa Schiaparelli was an integral figure in the artistic movement of the times. Her collaborations with artists such as Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, and Alberto Giacometti elevated the field of women's clothing design into the realm of art. Her story is one of pluck, determination, and talent with scandal as spice. As the daughter of minor Italian nobility whose disastrous first marriage to a Theosophist caused near penury, she transformed herself into a designer of great imagination and, along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she was one of the few female figures in the field at that time.
Secrest's biography is a wonderful insight into a life that history hasn't remembered as well as it should have. Vogue Ms Secrest's incisive, sympathetic life demonstrates great skill in unpicking the web of myths that Schiaparelli wove to reveal the shape of the woman beneath. The Economist The cast is thrilling...the locations are glamorous...Her story fairly rips along. -- Rachel Cooke the Observer This biography paints a compelling picture of a shrewd businesswoman gussying up her product art, and making a killing. Schiap proves as persuasive today as she was 80 years ago. The Independent Secrest is no fashion hagiographer: she is as sharp about the rich, demanding customers for haute couture as about the imperious, eccentric designers who dressed them...Whatever the shock behind the pink, Secrest gets to it with admiration for Schiap's unique style and appreciation for her as a reflection of her times. The Times