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Evening ensemble
  • Evening ensemble
    Elsa Schiaparelli, born 1890 - died 1973
  • Enlarge image

Evening ensemble

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1937 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Elsa Schiaparelli, born 1890 - died 1973 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand-sewn plaited gilt braid on chiffon foundation, lined with silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs B Gurschner

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This evening ensemble consists of an long evening coat and a stole entirely made of plaited gilt braid. The evening coat is slightly fitted at the waist and has wide sleeves, tapering at cuffs. The stole in the shape of a short cape, tapering slightly at the ends.

The evening coat is a stunning example of designer Elsa Schiaparelli's experimenting with unusual fabrics and substances, never before connected with women's clothes. Schiaparelli viewed clothing as a type of architecture and believed it should have a strict neatness, with angles replacing feminine curves. This ensemble shows how Schiaparelli excelled in conjuring striking eveningwear with modern, forceful lines and a stylised simplicity.

Physical description

Evening ensemble consisting of an evening coat and a stole entirely made of plaited gilt braid mounted on a chiffon foundation. It is lined with dark brown silk.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1937 (made)


Elsa Schiaparelli, born 1890 - died 1973 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Hand-sewn plaited gilt braid on chiffon foundation, lined with silk

Object history note

Coat and collar made up of flat gold braid strips. In bodice, sleeves and cape collar, 2 strips are plaited together, then sewn to each other. As the skirt expands in volume the strips, first two, and then three, are woven in a basket weave to make strips of graduated sizes, largest about 3” wide at hem, which are sewn together. Texture is created by the raised strip as it turns over at edges.
Photo notes:
Weave detail 3: Each strip is 2 pieces gold braid plaited together
Weave detail and weave detail 4: basket weave of two, then three strips
Sleeve: The huge bulbous sleeves are narrow at the armhole and narrow again at the sleeve opening. Very unusual shape for a sleeve.

Cape collar detail2 : given where the hooks and eyes are on this it seems the collar was intended to be tight around the neck , but stiffness and size of it make it physically rather improbable.

Jan G. Reeder, Curator, The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Taken May, 2011, Compiled September, 2011

Descriptive line

Evening ensemble with coat and stole, designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, Paris, France, ca. 1937


Gilt braid; Silk


Machine sewing; Hand sewing


Fashion; Textiles; Women's clothes; Evening wear

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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