Her name was Elsa Schiaparelli. She was known as the Queen of Fashion; a headline attraction in the international glitter-glamour show of the late twenties and thirties, feted in Rome (where she was born), Paris, New York, London, Moscow, Hollywood . . .
Here is the never-before-told story of this most extraordinary fashion designer, perhaps the most extraordinary fashion designer of the twentieth century, in her day more famous than Chanel.
“Dare to be different,” Schiaparelli advised women, and she lived it to the height; a rebel against convention - social as well as fashion. She designed an otter-fur bathing suit and a hat inspired by a lamb chop. (“I like to amuse myself,” she said. “If I didn’t, I would die.”) Chanel, her arch rival, called her, “that Italian woman who makes dresses.”
As Secrest traces the unfolding of this dazzling career, she reveals the spirit that gave shape to this large and extravagant life, a woman - a force - whose artistic vision forever changed the face of fashion and redefined the boundaries of art.
“A breathless, madcap ride across the 20th century . . . An alternately exhilarating, sympathetic, slyly humorous, and poignant portrait, not only of the surrealism-influenced, innovative fashion designer, but also of the creative cauldron of Paris in its golden age between the two world wars.” -Publishers Weekly