Monday, June 6, 2011

Lobster Dress

I have found my ultimate party dress for June:
The infamous lobster dress!


This is Style by Kate Spade...right in her introduction is the Lobster Dress!

The dress designed by Elsa Schiaparlli with assistance from Salvador Dali, was made in 1937 and famously worn by Wallis Simpson in a photo shoot taken shortly before her marriage to Edward VIII in Chateau de Cande.

Elsa Schiaparelli never referred to herself as a fashion designer, but rather an artist who made clothes. Each item of clothing she created was a 'work of art'. She was a clothing artist at the same time as Chanel was designing, both women were exceptionally crucial in developing the fashion world as we know it. Ms. Coco is just remembered slightly more. Anything that we know of as fashion forward pieces...was introduced by one of them. On Schiaparelli's end, the wrap dress (yes before DVF), the visable zipper, the skinny models (she had them stick a piece of wood down their dresses to make the stomcah appear flatter), and my personal favorite...SHOCKING PINK!

The Lobster Dress is a white silk floor-length dress, with a crimson band at the waist and art work done by Dali. Dali created the lobster, a motif he had been using since 1934. He had green parsly surronding the lobster and was appalled when Schiaparelli would not let him put mayonnaise on the finished gown (there are messy people, like me, that would have no problem getting the dress dirty, possibbly with mayonnaise, in just one wear...why the fit Dali??) Anyways, the gown was used by infamous Wallis Simpson for a photo shoot.

Simpson was an incredibly controversial figure, and was the future wife of the Duke of Windsor at the time the photos were taken. Simpson was the reason that her future spouse was demoted from the King of Great Britain to the Duke of Windsor. Simpson was a American socialite who had been married twice prior to the Duke. The fact that the future King of England fell in love with woman with two living ex-husbands threw England into a state of uproar and therefore Edward VIII was stripped of the thrown and renamed as simply... Duke.

The controversy surronding the future Duchess was hoped to be altered with a photo shoot done by Cecil Beaton. There were many inappropriate and distasteful pictures of the socialite that, when factored in with her background, made her immensely disliked...this photo shoot was an attempt to bring more positive attitudes to Wallis. However, the reverse happened.

The photo shoot was taken Chateau de Cande, the outdoor gardens, with Wallis wearing the gorgeous dress. After the photos were taken, controversy arose over the sexual innuendos in the dress design and how scandalous Wallis was for wearing the dress. Dali's intentions of his lobster motif, the location the lobster was placed on the dress, and other factors were used as attacks against the Duchess and a simple outdoor photo shoot turned out to be a much greater ordeal that ever intended.

No matter what Dali's inspirations were in the lobsters as signs of seduction, passion, sexuality...I find the dress to be fabulous and would love to wear it to a gala event some summer evening. Gold bracelets on the wrist, hair up, gold slingbacks, and a champagne flute in would be FABULOUS.

The dress is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Where is a National Treasure adventure when I need it? I need a Nicholas Cage to work his magic and whisk away another valued artifact!


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