Friday, 28 August 2009


With all that Chanel in mind, my attention started shifting to one of Mademoiselle's contemporaries (not rival, as if the world could not handle two powerful women at once and they had to pull each other's hair off!), Elsa Sciaparelli. But away from Shocking Pink and the Lobster Dress, what really grabbed my attention were these two knitted sweaters and the story behind them.

According to the notes of the 2003 'Shocking!' exhibition by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in the spring of 1927, Elsa noticed a woman in Paris wearing a sweater that unlike most others of the time, had a "steady look", as Schiap later described it, and didn't seem to stretch. Sciap discovered that the sweater had been knitted by an Armenian woman using a special double layered stitch and recruited her to knit several prototypes for her. She drew a white bow to look like a scarf tied around the neck of one and wore the sweater to a luncheon that included several leaders of the fashion world where a buyer from Lord & Taylor ordered 40 copies on the spot. For many, it was the bow-knot sweater that secured her fame!

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