Sotheby's At Large

Remembering Elsa Schiaparelli's Sartorial Genius

Italian fashion legend Elsa Schiaparelli was a powerhouse in spheres of art and design in the early 20th century. Affectionately known as Schiap by such friends as Salvador Dalí and Gaby Picabia, the stylish ex-wife of artist Francis Picabia, the designer imbued her clothes with Surrealist touches. Her hats took the shape of animals, she replaced buttons with tiny plastic hands and adorned knitwear with tromp l’œil bows. Schiaparelli, born on this day 125 years ago, was fearless and fascinating. To honour her boundless aesthetic and enduring influence, we have paired works from our archives with the designer’s cheekiest quotes, many from her "12 Commandments for Women" in her 1954 autobiography Shocking Life. – Stephanie Sporn