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Elsa Schiaparelli’s Pagan Collection: 1938 Nature Magic

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.

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Schiaparelli’s Zodiac Collection

Schiaparelli’s Zodiac Collection:

Astrology Fashion 1938

Lecture – Dr Sabina Stent

The planets, stars and ‘celestial fashion’ can been seen all over the catwalk, however Elsa ‘Schiap’ Schiaparelli (1890 – 1973) got there first. The Surrealist designer had huge impact: she  was a collaborator of Salvador Dalí, Leonor Fini and Jean Cocteau, a rival of Coco Chanel, and pioneer of everything ‘Shocking Pink.’ In the summer of 1938 Schiaparelli’s unveiled her Zodiac Collection: jackets emblazoned with planets, dresses with stars, and capes with suns.

Fascinated by astronomy since childhood, she drew inspiration from Euclid’s Elements, the solar system (which fascinated her) and the constellation Ursa Major, which was her personal talisman.  This illustrated lecture will specifically revolve around Elsa Schiaparelli’s Zodiac Collection, but will also look at her love of astronomy, her scientific approach to couture,  and the collection’s effect on contemporary fashion.  We look, finally, upon the way in which heavenly bodies informed other women artists associated with the Surrealist movement.

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 previously lectured at Treadwell’s on “Leonor Fini: Surrealist Sorceress” to a sold-out audience, and “Valentine Penrose: Surreal Occultress.”

Price: £9    Ring, or book online here below

Time: Arrive 7.15 pm for a 7.30 pm start. No latecomers

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SOLD OUT Luisa Casati, the Bewitching Muse

Luisa Casati, the Bewitching Muse

Lecture – Dr Will Visconti

 

 

This event is sold out.

 

 

Marchesa Luisa Casati was one of the greatest muses and art patrons of the early 20th century, cutting a swathe through the circles in which she moved. Hers is one of the most painted faces of modern art, and hers were the most flamboyant parties in Europe. She was involved, too, in fashion, and treated herself, in some ways, as an artistic creation.

The Marchesa was known as a mastermind of opulent spectacle, but she had a private, esoteric side. In the the enclosed chambers of her grand villas, she studied  and practised the occult arts: necromancy and hexes, divination and binding spells, and more.

In this vibrantly illutrated lecture, Dr Visconti uncovers Casati’s little-know occult practices, and then turns to showing how she incorporated magic and witchcraft into her projects, where the hints are there in plain sight. The occultism even fed into her her identity as ‘a living work of art.’

Dr Will Visconti is a lecturer at Central Saint Martins, and  holds a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory at London’s School of Advanced Study. Join us for an evening where fashion meets magic, where splendour shrouds secrecy – in an unforgettable night.

Image credit: Luisa Casati by Man Ray.

Time: Arrive 7.15 pm for a 7.30 pm start. No latecomers

Price: £9  Ring, or book online here below

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