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Chanel and Her Rivals

Valerie Steele

Source: Paris Fashion. A Cultural History, 3rd Edition, 2017, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

Sandwiched between two world wars, between Poiret’s harem and Dior’s New Look, two women dominated the field of haute couture—Schiaparelli and Chanel.

The War Years: 1940s

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution, 2014, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

With the onset of the Second World War in Europe, prosperity began returning to the U.S. and Canadian economies. Both North and South America became major suppliers to Europe, which meant expanded production and therefore more jobs and more money for the consumer to spend. Pattern sales for all the existing companies increased noticeably, except for Butterick, which was still struggling from the problems that began in the late 1920s and were exacerbated by the bankruptcy reorganization in 1935. T

Elsa Schiaparelli: Glamour, Privacy and Timelessness

Ilya Parkins

Source: Poiret, Dior and Schiaparelli. Fashion, Femininity and Modernity, 2012, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

The opening lines of Schiaparelli’s 1954 autobiography, Shocking Life, are curious. Referring to herself in the third person, as she does intermittently throughout the text, Schiaparelli writes, ‘I merely know Schiap by hearsay. I have only seen her in a mirror.’ElsaSchiaparelli, Shocking Life (1954; reprint, V&A Publications, 2007), p. vii. Here, with surprising bluntness, she sets herself up as someone who is ‘split’, having a rich inner life characterized by multiple visions of self.For a tho

Schiaparelli, Elsa

Caroline Evans

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

With Poiret’s encouragement, Schiaparelli began to design clothes and sell her designs on a freelance basis to small fashion houses. She briefly became the designer of a small house, Maison Lambal, in 1925 before setting up an atelier in her own name in 1927. Schiaparelli’s first collection featured hand-knitted trompe l’oeil sweaters, including an extremely successful black-and-white “bow-knot” sweater that was illustrated in Vogue and immediately sold in the United States. Her subsequent collec

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