Elsa Schiaparelli, With Mannequin, Wearing Shoe Hat (1937)

This classic photo of daring Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli modeling her Shoe Hat reveals a fashionista who was equally surrealist artist. From a May 17, 1937 Life magazine article about the designer outfitting the wife of former royalty:

“The sheer weight of pomp and ceremony has focused world interest on London where a shy Englishman and his proper English wife have been crowned rulers of the world’s greatest empire. But genuine human interest turned rather to Tours across the channel where a more romantic drama was enacted. Certainly the women of the world were little absorbed in the conventional satin gowns of England’s new queen. What Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson would wear, however, aroused their avid curiosity. Mrs. Simpson did not disappoint them. She ordered her gowns from Elsa Schiaparelli, maddest and most original of Paris couturières. With typical boldness, ‘Skap’ fashioned for the bride of the year a white dance frock with a daringly tight bodice and a bright red lobster stretched the length of the flaring skirt. On other dresses were button shaped like fish, chessmen, butterflies. The complete wardrobe of 17 ensembles cost Wallis Simpson an estimated $5,000.”