Woman's Dinner Jacket

Designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, French (born Italy), 1890 - 1973

Geography:
Made in Paris, France, Europe

Date:
Summer 1941

Medium:
Black rayon crepe, magenta cellulose acetate velvet with silk embroidery

Dimensions:
Center Back Length: 19 1/4 inches (48.9 cm) Center Front Length: 16 inches (40.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1969-232-17

Credit Line:
Gift of Mme Elsa Schiaparelli, 1969

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Additional information:
  • PublicationShocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli

    During the German occupation following the defeat of France in 1940, the Vichy government embarked on a program of renewing the French moral climate. “Work, family, fatherland” became the new symbols of France, with roles for men and women rigidly defined. The ideal was no longer the career woman or the fashion plate of the decadent 1930s but rather the wife and mother. Women’s vanity and affectations, it was claimed, had contributed to France’s defeat; by embracing the simple life, women could now contribute to the country’s recovery. Schiaparelli’s design for this dinner ensemble for summer 1941 offers a witty observation on the changing role of women. The wool and velvet jacket simulates an eighteenth century waistcoat of the ancien régime (France prior to the revolution of 1789) and is decorated with produce from the French kitchen garden—embroidered vegetables and fruit and three-dimensional buttons in the form of carrots, cauliflower, and a white radish. The jacket was worn over a long gown with a Lastex shirred bodice and a ruffle that extended across the front and partly down the sides of the skirt to form a mock apron. The collection, presented in February, was the last Schiaparelli designed before leaving Paris for the United States on May 11, 1941, for the duration of the war. Dilys E. Blum, from Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli (2003), p. 245.