Of the many collaborations between Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali, the lobster dress is, without a doubt, the most famous.
Salvador Dali had already used a lobster in his work, in particular in his Lobster Telephone created in 1936. On this summer gown for the Schiaparelli Summer 1937 Haute Couture collection, he designed a lobster motif strewn with sprigs of parsley printed on white organdy. According to legend, Dali wanted to apply real mayonnaise on the dress, but Schiaparelli refused.
This dress was immortalised by Wallis Simpson. It was among the 18 pieces of the trousseau that Elsa Schiaparelli had designed for her on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke de Windsor. The latter abdicated the British crown for love of this woman. The future Duchess created a scandal in this dress, in particular through Cecil Beaton's photographs published in Vogue. Indeed, the placement of the shellfish conferred an erotic charge on the garment and contrasted with the virginal white of the organdy.
Courtesy of the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s