Princess Alice’s 1939 Elsa Schiaparelli Dress | Beyond Palace Doors


So this dress we know is Schiaparelli there’s no labels inside but it could not scream more Schiaparelli
and I know because I love her so much that when we saw it, it was like Oh my God it might be, and it was So after doing some research we found that this is a Schiaparelli dress from 1939. This dress came to us as a loan It’s the clothes from the late Princess Alice of Gloucester Schiaparelli for those of you who don’t know her she was an Italian-born but
Paris-based couturier and she was incredibly inspired by the Surrealist art movement and she was best friends with Salvador Dali and Jacques Cousteau and actually got them those artists to collaborate with her so there’s always an element of surrealism in her clothes Another thing about Schiaparelli is that she was incredibly influenced by
Catholicism, by ideas of heaven and we can see that in this dress so we see here this gorgeous embroidery of crossed keys and the keys actually symbolise
the keys for the Kingdom of Heaven that St. Peter got from Christ and they’re embroidered with plastic pearls and little crystal beads and plastic now sounds very funny. I say “oh plastic” but actually for her using plastic was exploring a new medium a new technology, because plastic in the 1930s is still something new and another element of plastic that we can see here in the dress is the zip at the back, which is quite
interesting It’s a very very early plastic zip yes I do get quite excited about
these things Another interesting element in this dress is the latticework here in
the collar and then in the sleeves and this to me it’s so reminiscent of
16th century clothes and paintings of Elizabeth l or Catherine de Medici and they all have this kind of pearl embroidery in their dresses and this is doing a reference and of course is such a gorgeous detail you can see here you would have the skin underneath showing Now we know when Alice actually wore this dress We know she wore it to go to the theatre with her husband and then the king and queen at the time and that was on the 30th January 1940 and you can just see the top of her and because of this embroidery you can definitely identify that this is the dress and another interesting thing is of course all the royals at that time – and today as well – they always try to wear British but this is an Italian designer but based in Paris so it’s one of those elements when the rules get broken just ever so slightly for me as a great success

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