Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 18901973)
Orange silk organza with metallic stripes and orange silk
Gift of Mrs. Harrison Williams, Lady Mendl, and Mrs. Ector Munn, 1946 (C.I.46.4.10ac)
Fashion in the mid-1930s glorified styles of other cultures. Indian and Southeast Asian styles were particularly evident in the work of Elsa Schiaparelli. Vogue remarked that her "sari dresses" made women look like "Hindu princesses."
This sari dress was worn by Madame Arturo Lopez-Wilshaw, the great-niece of the supremely elegant Eugenia Errázuriz. Like her great-aunt, Madame Lopez-Wilshaw was a considerable force in the fashion world, particularly during the late 1930s. During the Phony War, when she and her husband moved from their house in Neuilly to the Ritz, Madame Lopez-Wilshaw's Wednesday suppers became a well-known site of fashionability. Vogue explained, "At the first parties, Patricia Lopez wore a short afternoon dress, but, little by little, women arrived in long black sheaths, and now you definitely have to dress for dinner. This is part of the general discipline. Women must be attractive, and the signal of emulation is given. Nothing eccentric or fussy, but sound, refined taste. Long-sleeved dinner dresses, jewels, and smooth, curled hair."