This Christian Bérard illustration of a Schiaparelli Haute Couture outfit captures all the characteristics of the silhouette called “hard chic” invented by Elsa at the beginning of the 1930s. The illustration's caption identifies “Schiaparelli’s new silhouette – rigid shoulders, neat waist, brief skirt, surprising colours. Wool jacket and skirt; silk blouse. And a nose diving feather hat”. This silhouette is the origin of the 1980's “power suit”.
Elsa Schiaparelli proclaimed a deep admiration for her friend Christian Bérard, called “Bébé”. In her autobiography Shocking Life, she wrote “To be approved and admired – and sometimes befriended – by Bébé was a consecration in the artistic, social and intellectual world of Paris”. The multi-talented artist collaborated numerous times with Elsa Schiaparelli. He created fashion illustrations, exclusive prints and even a painted folding screen for the showroom of her Couture House.
Christian Bérard © Adagp, Paris 2016
US VOGUE, September 1935
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