The innovation of a top fashion designer can greatly influence the public's taste in dress.

Elsa Schiaparelli was a French designer whose ideas shocked the fashion world of the 1930s. Today she is mainly remembered for making the padded shoulder popular and introducing to the fashion world the colour 'shocking pink'.

Schiaparelli was Italian by birth, but attended French, Swiss and English schools before working in the United States. In 1920 she went to Paris where she made friends with Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau and other surrealist artists who influenced the design of the clothes she made for herself. As a result of wearing her own striking black and white sweaters, Schiaparelli began receiving/getting orders from an American store.

In 1929 the store's managers were so impressed that they decided to set her up in business. Soon she was able to expand into jewellery, perfume, cosmetics, lingerie and swimsuits and to commission her artist friends to create further fashion ideas.

After the war, it was not clear what was going to happen to the fashion industry. But by 1947 Schiaparelli and others had re-established Paris as the heart of the fashion world. She continued to spread the city's fashions across the world on a large commercial scale until/till her death in 1973.


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