Elsa Schiaparelli

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Parasols have been in fashion in the Western world since the seventeenth century. Most popular during the nineteenth century, they were used as both a shade from the sun and as a flirtation device. This example by Schiaparelli, owned by style icon Millicent Rogers, bears classic Schiaparelli characteristics of an unexpected shape combined with an unusual choice of materials. As this was most likely used to shield from the sun, perhaps while on holiday at Rogers' Jamaican estate "Wharf House" or one of her family homes on Long Island, the materials carry out a beach theme, and are reminiscent of a straw beach hat. The asymmetric shape is indicative of Schiaparelli's desire to design objects with an artistic quality. Bamboo, a wood more traditionally used for parasol handles, is used for the ribs, an unexpected twist. The canopy material, more commonly silk, cotton or linen, has the appearance of straw, again evoking the idea of a straw hat. The overall effect is very eye-catching and chic.

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  • Title: Parasol
  • Creator: Elsa Schiaparelli
  • Date Created: 1936
  • Physical Dimensions: 36 1/4 in. (92.1 cm)
  • Type: Parasol
  • External Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Collection Online
  • Medium: bast fiber, wood, metal
  • Designer: Elsa Schiaparelli
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955
  • Creator Death Date: 1973
  • Creator Birth Date: 1890
  • Accession Number: 2009.300.1223

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