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

Evening ensemble

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1938 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Elsa Schiaparelli, born 1890 - died 1973 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk velvet, embroidered with rhinestones, sequins and silver-gilt threads, fastened with metal buttons

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Trevor Roper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Elsa Schiaparelli often used classic tailored jackets as a perfect foil for her gloriously adventurous embroideries. Her clothes were smart, sophisticated and often wildly eccentric, and she had a huge following. Her ideas, coupled with designs she commissioned from famous artists, were carried out with considerable skill. Salvador Dalí, Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau, for example, designed fabrics and accessories. Jean Schlumberger produced costume jewellery and buttons. Art movements such as Cubism and Surrealism influenced her designs. She used tweed to make evening wear and hessian for dresses. She dyed furs, put padlocks on suits and popularised Tyrolean peasant costume.

This jacket shows how Schiaparelli used historical and traditional embroideries, including magnificent ecclesiastical vestments, as sources of inspiration. The fronds and leaves are worked in bronze and gold coloured fine metallic threads and bright metal strips. Blue and pink oval glass rhinestones form stylised flower heads. In addition, tiny blue and gold sequins are scattered over the jacket to create interesting visual and textural effects. Three embossed metal buttons resembling star-like flowers fasten the garment. The deep hue of the silk velvet sets off the rich golds of the baroque design perfectly.

Lady Trevor Roper wore this ensemble, which forms part of the Cecil Beaton Collection. Sir Cecil Beaton was a society photographer. With great energy and determination Beaton contacted the well-dressed élite of Europe and North America to help create this monument to the art of dress. The Collection was exhibited in 1971, accompanied by a catalogue that detailed its enormous range.

Physical description

Evening ensemble consisting of silk velvet jacket and skirt.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1938 (designed)


Elsa Schiaparelli, born 1890 - died 1973 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silk velvet, embroidered with rhinestones, sequins and silver-gilt threads, fastened with metal buttons


Height: 1650, Width: 500 mm, Depth: 500 mm

Object history note

Published pg. 104 Modern Fashion in Detail – Provenance: Lady Trevor Roper now Lady Dacre of Glanton.
Extremely luxe velvet
Photo Notes:
CF closure: sun flower buttons

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

Descriptive line

Evening ensemble consisting of embroidered silk velvet jacket and skirt, designed by Schiaparelli, Paris, autumn-winter 1937-38.


Fashion; Evening wear; Embroidery; Women's clothes


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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