Designer: Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)
Maker: Jean Clemént (French, 1900–1949)
Date: fall 1938
Medium: synthetic, metal
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: 2009.300.1234
This necklace is from Schiaparelli's "Pagan" collection of 1938, which referenced the lush imagery of flora and fauna and mythological figures represented in the two great paintings by Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), "The Birth of Venus" (ca.1485) and "Primavera" (ca.1482).
Rhodoid was a newly developed plastic material that suited Schiaparelli's design intent for this necklace, perhaps her most macabre and certainly one of her most iconic designs. A transparent foundation creates the illusion that insects are crawling on the wearer's skin. Never too heavy-handed, Schiaparelli chose brightly colored toylike ornaments that temper the repugnant effect.