Elsa Schiaparelli Italian pronunciation: [ɛlsa skjapaˈɾɛlːi] (1890–1973) was an Italian fashion designer. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars. Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli's designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. Her clients included the heiress Daisy Fellowes and actress Mae West. Schiaparelli did not adapt to the changes in fashion following World War II and her couture house closed in 1954.
Elsa Luisa Maria Schiaparelli (pronounced Scap-a-reli) was born at the Palazzo Corsini, Rome. Her mother, Maria-Luisa, was a Neapolitan aristocrat. Her father, Celestino Schiaparelli, was an accomplished scholar with multiple areas of interest. His studies focused on the Islamic world and the era of the Middle Ages and he was, in addition, an authority on Sanskrit and a curator of medieval manuscripts. He also served as Dean of the University of Rome. One of Schiaparelli's cousins was a noted Egyptologist whose explorations had uncovered the grave of Nefertari. His brother, astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, had discovered the canali of Mars. Schiaparelli spent many entranced childhood hours with this uncle studying the heavens through the lens of his telescope. Schiaparelli herself would later go on to study philosophy at the University of Rome...
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