Adventures of a Schiaparelli Impersonator

Last Thursday, Stanford in Washington hosted party to celebrate the opening of our new art gallery exhibit, Insight and Indentity: Contemporary Artists and Gertrude Stein. It was the second art gallery opening I attended. It also happened to be the second Gertrude Stein-themed art gallery opening I attended.

Because the opening fell so close to Halloween, the invitation asked everyone to dress in 1920s and ’30s attire. Flapper dresses, headbands, and long strands of pearls abounded.

I went as Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer active in Paris from approximately 1920-1950.

She was Chanel’s great rival, best known for her collaborations with surrealist artists like Dalí. The jacket I wore is an original of hers. My grandmother discovered the jacket and skirt (which is by another company, but matches almost exactly) at the American Cancer Society Discovery shop near our house for $8. They had no idea what it was.

To accessorize, I knotted a boldly patterned scarf around my head like a turban hat and added a small pin to the front. Although I chose not to wear a necklace or bracelets, I wore three rings. The best word to describe my fashion goal is eccentric.

My friend Percia took this photo about halfway through the night.

Some friends:

From left to right: A flapper, Salvador Dalí, T.S. Eliot, and Ernest Hemingway.

 I gave Hemingway that black eye.

Our fearless leader/art history professor, Wanda a.k.a Gertrude Stein for the night, consulting with Gertrude’s nephew, Julian. He is an adorable 93-year-old man who attends every Gertrude Stein gallery opening.

My art history class performed “If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso.” Don’t let our intense level of preparation fool or intimidate you.

Samir and his ladies living the life. We took the 1920s theme very seriously. Some managed to stay in character for the majority of the night.

Chanel et Schiaparelli

Dalí and Schiaparelli

The fake-chocolate, styrofoam Eiffel Tower used as a prop. We were instructed not to eat it at least 20 times.

If every night were like Thursday night, I might live in heaven. But I also might never sleep again.

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