In 1937, Elsa Schiaparelli launched her perfume Shocking, whose bottle and packaging were designed by the Argentine artist Leonor Fini. Shocking was also the name Elsa gave to an intense pink.
In her memoirs, Shocking Life, Schiaparelli wrote:
“The name had to begin with an ‘S’, this being one of my superstitions. To find the name of a perfume is a very difficult problem because every word in the dictionary seems to be registered. The colour flashed in front of my eyes. Bright, impossible, impudent, becoming, life giving, like all the lights and the birds and the fish in the world put together, a colour of China and Peru but not of the West - a shocking colour, pure and undiluted.”
The bottle was shaped like a dressmaker's mannequin, with a tape measure around the neck sealed with a badge monogrammed “S”, and small flowers about the neck. The shape of the mannequin was inspired by the curves of the actress Mae West, the Hollywood sex symbol of the time. The bottle was placed under a glass globe in reference to those in which late 19th century brides preserved their floral wreaths.
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