SCHIAPARELLI PREDATES BY SIXTY YEARS MOSCHINO CHEAP AND CHIC DRESS

Schiaparelli predates by sixty years a Moschino “Cheap and Chic” dress from Fall 2000 with a camouflage print and lipstick holster.

By Balthazar Malevolent

SCHIAPARELLI PREDATES BY SIXTY YEARS MOSCHINO CHEAP AND CHIC DRESS

Elsa Schiaparelli created camouflage-patterned garments at least three times within a decade. In 1937-38 she designed an evening gown with a black and green camouflage print. Two years later, just after war was declared in France, she presented her midseason collection with a military theme. This small collection featured colors such as Torch Blue, Trench Brown, and Legion Red and included “a taffeta dress streaked with dark red, green and blue [that] was named ‘camouflage.’” “A camouflage effect [was also] given in an air raid hooded overall suit of pale blue transparent oil-silk worn over purple woolen.” The taffeta gown in particular caused quite a stir, as it was “dubbed the ‘washerwoman’ dress and is made to answer the prayer for something to wear direct from workaday events to playtime goings-on. It buttons down the front on miniature hand-grenades.” Schiaparelli predates by sixty years a Moschino “Cheap and Chic” dress from Fall 2000 with a camouflage print and lipstick holster. Her cheeky use of camouflage with hand grenade buttons is easily understand when one considers her connection to Surrealism and its adherents, like Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, with whom she had collaborated on some of her designs. She implicitly realized the irony and disconnectedness of using camouflage, by this time a proven war tactic, as an integral component for a modern, fashionable silk dress.

1930s fashion: Elsa Schiaparelli.

Today, designers often apply camouflage prints to their models. Within his last season, Alexander Wang presented several variations of camo sweatpants, camouflage back panel t-shirts, and camo canvas totes.

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