Discover An Upside Down Fashion Icon

Find out more about the surreal style of Elsa Schiaparelli x Salvador Dalí with this piece from the V&A collection

By Google Arts & Culture

Shoe Hat Shoe Hat (1937/1938) by Elsa SchiaparelliThe Victoria and Albert Museum

After the horror and carnage of the First World War, the art world reacted by forging a new path – one that was based on a combination of both dreams and reality. This fusing of the conscious and unconscious minds would create an absolute or super-reality, also known as Surrealism. 

SPAIN SALVADOR DALI (1966-06-01) by LAMAAgencia EFE

Elsa Schiaparelli's Shoe Hat, created in 1937-38, is a perfect example of the Surrealist movement. It was made in collaboration with the artist Salvador Dali, one of the prime exponents of the movement. The idea for the Shoe Hat came from a drawing by Dali. This in turn evolved from a photograph taken by his wife Gala, in which he was wearing a woman's shoe on his head and another on his shoulder.

Can you find the 'Shoe Hat'?

Schiaparelli often worked with Dali, creating amongst other things the Tear and Skeleton dresses, all housed in the V&A permanent collection. Why not have a look around the museum and see if you can find them?

Shoe Hat Shoe Hat (1937/1938) by Elsa SchiaparelliThe Victoria and Albert Museum

The Shoe Hat is fashioned from blue wool felt with a fuchsia pink velvet heel. It was made to be worn with a black dress and jacket, embroidered with red lips said to be suggestive of the actress Mae West. Schiaparelli was designing movie costumes for West at the time. 

By John PhillipsLIFE Photo Collection

The hat was captured for posterity in a photography by Georges Saad, published in the October 1937 issue of L’Officiel de la Mode et de la Couture, and Gala herself can be seen wearing it in a photo taken by André Maillet in 1938.

Mme. Schiaparelli's Home (Portraits) (1947-05) by Hans WildLIFE Photo Collection

Several other versions of the Shoe Hat are in existence, made from black felt. They can be found in the Andrea Pfister Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The original Dali sketch is located in the Union Française des Arts du Costume at the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris.        

Evening ensemble (1937–38) by Elsa SchiaparelliThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

Inspired by the 'Shoe Hat'?

If you would like to see more surrealist work and clothing created by Schiaparelli and Dali, you can find it here.

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