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The Circus Collection

Evening Ensemble
February 1938 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Four handmade, cast metal acrobat buttons leap from this bright pink fitted jacket by Schiaparelli. The heavy buttons are attached to the cloth with industrial slide hooks behind providing the actual fastenings. Such novel buttons and fastenings were a trademark of Schiaparelli's work. The circus theme of the garment is further emphasised by the woven silk twill fabric, with its repeating design of rearing horses in two shades of blue, with metallic thread manes, saddles and feathered headdresses.

The jacket was worn with a dark purple crêpe evening dress with a draped culotte hem, which can be worn either as a normal skirt with both feet through one opening, or with one foot through either opening.

The ensemble was part of Schiaparelli's Circus collection of 1938. When she presented the collection, it was described as the most riotous and swaggering fashion show that Paris had ever seen. The clothes featured many novelty effects and motifs, including prancing horses, performing elephants, spotlit acrobats, tents and clowns.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Jacket
  • Dress
Materials and Techniques
Silk twill, fastened with cast metal buttons
Brief Description
Evening ensemble consisting of silk twill dress and jacket, 'The Circus Collection', designed by Schiaparelli, Paris, February 1938.
Physical Description
Evening ensemble consisting of silk twill dress and jacket.
Production typeHaute couture
Credit line
Given by Miss Ruth Ford
Object history
Ref. Paris Centre de Documentation de Costume, Schiaparelli, Album no 19, 1938, p.41 (although jacket has a different pattern)



Given by Miss Ruth Ford and worn by her mother





Published on pg. 94 Modern Fashion in Detail

Placement of fabric animates the horses –appearing to dance around the jacket. There are also horses on the interior collar facing. Horses very similar to ornamental buttons on maroon Circus Collection jacket with marble decoration

Photo Notes:

Button detail: method of closure – spiral hooks, cast metal buttons

Button closure detail: hardware with hooks attaching acrobat ornamental buttons with screws



T.395A-1974

Dhoti dress (Purple crepe evening dress with Dhoti Skirt)

Could be worn both as a conventional skirt (legs through bottom opening) or as a dhoti (legs through side holes)

Photo Notes:

Right leghole: conventional hem Schiaparelli’s hems rarely looked like this

Covered zipper: has a placket and hooks and eyes that cover it up



Jan G. Reeder, Curator, The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Taken May, 2011, Compiled September, 2011







Subjects depicted
Summary
Four handmade, cast metal acrobat buttons leap from this bright pink fitted jacket by Schiaparelli. The heavy buttons are attached to the cloth with industrial slide hooks behind providing the actual fastenings. Such novel buttons and fastenings were a trademark of Schiaparelli's work. The circus theme of the garment is further emphasised by the woven silk twill fabric, with its repeating design of rearing horses in two shades of blue, with metallic thread manes, saddles and feathered headdresses.



The jacket was worn with a dark purple crêpe evening dress with a draped culotte hem, which can be worn either as a normal skirt with both feet through one opening, or with one foot through either opening.



The ensemble was part of Schiaparelli's Circus collection of 1938. When she presented the collection, it was described as the most riotous and swaggering fashion show that Paris had ever seen. The clothes featured many novelty effects and motifs, including prancing horses, performing elephants, spotlit acrobats, tents and clowns.
Bibliographic Reference
Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971no. 226
Collection
Accession Number
T.395&A-1974

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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