A single glance is enough to identify the designer of this silk velvet jacket embroidered with gold strips, beveled mirrors and glass stars: Elsa Schiaparelli.
Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Zodiac collection, "Hall of Mirrors" dinner jacket in silk velvet embroidered by Lesage with gold strips framing two mosaics of 27 small beveled mirrors held together by glass stars, shoulders padded with shirring.
If there was one figure who made a mark on fashion during the first half of the 20th century through her designs and independence, it was Elsa Schiaparelli. Born under a lucky star in Rome (and sent to a convent by a family who roundly disapproved of her erotic poems), she discovered her love of fashion after a visit to Paul Poiret. She started out in 1927 in her apartment in Rue de l'Université, designing sweaters decorated with large trompe l'oeil bows. They were an instant success.
Presented in August 1938, the "Zodiac" or "Cosmic" collection was striking for its sumptuous embroidery by Lesage and a theme mingling historical references and contemporary events. The planets were aligned with the sun—Louis XIV, who commissioned the iconic Hall of Mirrors at the Château de Versailles—and Surrealism, which found the mirror truly marvelous. Pierre Mabille, a close friend of André Breton, described it as "the most banal and most extraordinary magical instrument of all."