----Schiaparelli drew much inspiration from art, but she is best known for her designs produced in collaboration with Salvador Dali, like the following:
- The Lobster Dress -----In 1937, Dali's Lobster Telephone inspired Elsa Schiaparelli to create her famous Lobster Dress, a virginal white dress with a red sash and a two-foot red lobster printed on the front. She had Dali, her good friend, design the fabric. For Elsa Schiaparelli, there was nothing that could not be used for inspiration.
- The Skeleton Dress------Dali also helped Schiaparelli design the Skeleton Dress for the Circus Collection. It was a stark black crepe dress which used trapunto quilting to create padded ribs, spine and leg bones.
- The Shoe Hat------Schiaparelli's Fall-Winter 1937-38 collection featured a hat shaped like a woman's high heeled shoe, with the heel standing straight up and the toe tilted over the wearer's forehead. This was worn by Gala Dali, Schiaparelli herself, and by the Franco-American editor of the French Harper's Bazaar, heiress Daisy Fellows, who was one of Schiaparelli's best clients.
- Tears Dress ------The Tears Dress was part of the February 1938 Circus Collection. It was a slender white evening gown printed with a Dali design of trompe l'oeil rips and tears, worn with a thigh-length veil with "real" tears, carefully cut out and lined in pink and magenta. Figures in ripped, skin-tight clothing suggesting flayed flesh appeared in some of Dali's paintings, including one owned by Schiaparelli.
Elsa's 12 Commandments:
1. Since most women do not know themselves they should try to do so.
2. A woman who buys an expensive dress and changes it, often with disastrous result, is extravagant and foolish.
3. Most women (and men) are color-blind. They should ask for suggestions.
4. Remember-twenty percent of women have inferiority complexes. Seventy percent have illusions.
5. Ninety percent are afraid of being conspicuous, and of what people will say. So they buy a gray suit. They should dare to be different.
6. Women should listen and ask for competent criticism and advice.
7. They should choose their clothes alone or in the company of a man.
8. They should never shop with another woman, who sometimes consciously or unconsciously, is apt to be jealous.
9. She should buy little and only of the best or cheapest.
10. Never fit a dress to the body, but train the body to fit the dress.
11. A woman should buy mostly in one place where she is known and respected, and not rush around trying every new fad.
12. And she should pay her bills.
----Her signature color was ‘shocking pink’, and she was one of the first to use zippers in couture. From the very beginning Schiaparelli used surrealism in her surface design and notions, rather than in the cut of the garment. She also utilized gold and brightly colored cording, applique, beading and unusal buttons for her surrealist designs.
----Elsa Schiaparelli made connections between her clothing and the world around her as no one had before.
----In 1930 alone she created the first evening-dress with a jacket, and the first clothes with visible zippers.
----In 1934, Time said about Schiaparelli that she was one of "a handful of houses now at or near the peak of their power as arbiters of the ultra-modern haute couture....Madder and more original than most of her contemporaries, Mme Schiaparelli is the one to whom the word "genius" is applied most often".
---- Her designs were exposed in prestigious institutions, like Pavillion des Artes in Paris, Fashion Institute of Technology, or Victoria and Albert Museum in London.