Elsa Schiaparelli’s Pagan Collection: 1938 Nature Magic
Lecture – Dr Sabina Stent
In 1938 the Surrealist fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli launched her ‘Pagan Collection’ which was to go down in history. Influenced by mythology and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, it featured dresses adorned with flowers and necklaces with insects. It radiated “the pagan joy of living” and blended the boundaries between the body and the natural world. In this illustrated lecture, fashion art history scholar Sabina Stent explores Schiaparelli’s famed collection in context of surrealism. The designer, like other Surrealists, believed in making magic through creative endeavor : Schiaparelli wanted here to intertwine body and nature and thus to merge the two into one entity. We can see the collection as a piece of art magic, with this as its goal.
Sabina Stent is an independent scholar who researches, writes and lectures on the subject. Her PhD thesis was “Women Surrealists: Sexuality, Fetish, Femininity and Female Surrealism” (Birmingham, 2012). She has previously lectured at Treadwell’s on Leonor Fini: Surrealist Sorceress to a sold-out audience, and to Valentine Penrose: Surreal Occultress.