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Despite of clear parallels between Schiaparelli
and Prada, considering visual elements as well as symbolic meanings as well,
Prada keeps her works to be distanced from the works of Schiaparelli. There was
an exhibition held at Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012, titled as’An imaginary conversation
between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada’. In the videos, Prada is seated
opposite the actress Judy Davis in the role of Schiaparelli, and both have
constant conversation and discuss. They effectively illustrate different
opinions, and one of the prominent moment was when they talk about the relationship
between fashion and art. Schiaparelli said “dress designing… is to me not a
profession but an art” and Prada responds “dress designing is creative but it
is not an art” (Video from exhibition, 2012). Indeed, the conversation separate
their views on the matter, and shows that while Schiaparelli considers fashion
as a form of art, Prada takes fashion to be rather commercial to be art. Prada
widely recalls the idea of Surrealism and works of Schiaparelli the more it
comes to the recent years. It is undeniable that Surrealism has played a
significant role in the fashion world, beginning with great works of
Schiaparelli, whose root lives in the works of Prada. Moreover, Surrealist
preoccupation with human body and the skeleton motif was reincarnated in different
forms on the runway by Alexander McQueen. Unlike Prada, McQueen directly
mentions that he was interested in Schiaparelli as the anarchist, the rebel
(Wilson, 2010). Further to it, he was particularly fascinated by the concept of
reinvention, the ability some people had to create themselves anew (Wilson,
2010). In his works, McQueen shows engagement of Schiaparelli’s work with death
and dark aesthetics. McQueen told in an interview with Vogue (1997) saying that
“I want people to be afraid of the women I dress”. With the Surrealist elements
that resembles to Schiaparelli, McQueen’s design played the idea of the femme
fatale, which embodies both sex and death (Pass, 2013). The modern philosopher Walter Benjamin, also argued that fashion
had a unique relationship with death due to its eternal quest for the new, and
continued that “fashion has opened the business of dialectical exchange between
woman and ware – between carnal pleasure and the corpse. The clerk, death, tall
and loutish, measures the century by the yard” (in Pass, 2013). McQueen’s
skeleton works which combine elements of horror and dark personality bring a
rather paradoxical status of having both melancholy and beauty. And, his works
can be found similar to Schiaparelli’s works yet quite distinctive
in creating different emotional resonance to the viewer.   In
McQueen’s collection, there are blurring boundaries between dream and reality
and conscious and the subconscious, and it is apparent that the surrealist
movement interested McQueen to a great depth. To many, surrealism removes the
surface of a vast network of hidden relationships, opportunities, memories and
so forth. When dreaming, the unconscious mind speaks while it draws the truth
as defined by Freud. In regard to this, McQueen challenged conventional idea of
fashion, and appeared to be very rare in modern fashion industry. He saw beyond
clothing’s physical constrains to its conceptual and imaginative possibilities.
He constantly promoted freedom of thoughts, expression and championed the
authority of the imagination, looking into inner depth (V&A, 2015). He said
that “what I am trying to bring to fashion is sort of originality”, and further
added that “there is no way back for me. I am going to take you on journeys you
have never dreamed were possible” (V&A, 2015). McQueen’s collections have
roots in Surrealism, and widely explores the notions of the unconscious and
subversion of reality, and he marked himself as one of the greatest fashion
designer.   

Schiaparelli’s works have expanded
its boundary as many of her designs have appeared in pop culture during the
recent few years. One of the pop singers, Lady Gaga is famous for her unique
fashion styles. Some say Lady Gaga would not be Lady Gaga without Schiaparelli,
and others say that Lady gaga is helping to revive Schiaparelli’s love of
surreal and introducing to a new generation. And, some further add that
Schiaparelli was considered as Lady Gaga in her time. Indeed, Lady Gaga has
been drawing every media attention and has become a leading icon for her
fashion. In the music video ‘Bad Romance’ (2009), she used skeleton
inspired fashion, taking Schiaparelli’s skeleton dress further with her white
bodysuit. Also, Lady gaga used ‘Lobster’ as motifs to Dalí and Schiaparelli
designs. With experiment in both art and fashion, Lady Gaga establishes herself as an artist with styles and
was recently awarded as a Style Icon at CFDA Awards. It can be argued that Lady
Gaga actively reformed the original styles in her fashion in favour of generating
shocks and owes to the public, whilst there is nothing ‘newness’ to be found in
terms of fashion. However, it is undeniable that Schiaparelli and the
surrealist movement expanded the boundaries of so-called fashion world – the
traces are everywhere by going beyond, and Lady Gaga reaffirmed surrealist
movement in contemporary era.

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