Designer: Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Date: summer 1940
Medium: silk, ceramic, plastic
Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955
Accession Number: 2009.300.1210
As World War II approached France, closures such as buttons were in short supply. For Schiaparelli's summer 1940 collection, creative and unusual alternatives were explored. Perhaps the whimsical painted metal fish buttons from this evening dress are vintage, saved from an earlier time, as Schiaparelli was known to do for her war time collections. The bright coral color of the fish is mirrored in the jersey overbodice. The overbodice itself, more like a large collar, is unique and creates an appealing silhouette. Worn by Millicent Rogers, the chic look is accomplished by the combination of the contrasting sophisticated, soothing celadon faille and the vivid coral jersey, joined together by the unique buttons.