Monday, March 23, 2015

Schiaparelli & Lesage- A Great Collaboration

    There are no couture designers who can, or do, do it entirely by themselves.  They must rely on a huge array of skilled, brilliant people to assist them in making what they see in their heads into a functional physical reality.  So, they form strong ties with fabric manufacturers, dyers, makers of trimmings and notions, and in the case of Elsa Schaiparelli, with embroiderers.
    In the 1930s Schiaparelli met, and formed a professional relationship with Albert Lesage, of Maison Lesage, that would continue to the end of her design career.  His boundless imagination was fully ready to aid her in bringing her most surreal ideas into being.  Lesage had prided itself on being at the forefront of new materials use, and so was perfectly suited to Schaiparelli, who wanted to use all manner of unusual materials to create her work.
    Eventually, Maison Lesage created embroideries for her that incorporated straw, metal, plastic, glass, ceramics, mirrors, metal, feathers, leathers, and of course beads and sequins of every sort.  And where Lesage's work for her was most permitted to shine was in one of the signature pieces of the house, the evening jacket with a short basque below the waist, and a slightly puffed sleeve.  This design would appear endlessly throughout her career, in a huge array of variations.
    I'm going to let these speak for themselves.  The canvas that Schaiparelli created, and the ideas that lived in her head, combined with the massive skills of Leasge, created embellished garments that are a s wondrous today as they were when they first appeared.  And just for fun, a few other things, also embellished by Lesage for her house.

                     All images are from the Metropolitan Museum of New York's collection.

1 comment: