The House of Schiaparelli and the Zipper

The fashion world is abuzz this week after the house of Schiaparelli’s return to couture with a show in Paris under the helm of its new creative director Marco Zanini, prompting us at TrimLab to remember Elsa Schiaparelli’s (1890–1973) visionary use of zippers in the body of her work.

Schiaparelli was one of the first couturiers to embrace zippers as a style element in fashion design. She incorporated brightly colored zippers on sportswear in 1930, and worked oversize decorative zippers into her collection of evening dresses in 1935. While other designers thought of zippers simply as a fastener and tried to hide them, Schiaparelli proudly flaunted them to create visual interest. And they eventually became an iconic indication of her artistic design sensibility.

Image via Rainbow Valley Vintage

Schiap Lightning Fastener Ad001

Pictured below at left, Elsa Schiaparelli, who ran in the same circles and Salvador Dalí, embraced surrealism and displayed bold irreverence in her work, which is indicative in her brave use of zippers.

After perusing Marco Zanini’s collection for Schiaparelli in Paris this week, we are happy to note he was able to successfully capture the whimsical spirit of the brand’s legendary founder in a fresh, modern way. Scroll down for vintage Schiaparelli designs on the left, each paired with Zanini’s modern take on the right.

Schiaparelli 1
Images via Christie’s and
Schiaparelli 2
Images via Met Museum and
Schiaparelli 3
Images via The Philadelphia Museum of Art and
Schiaparelli 4
Images via Victoria and Albert Museum and
Schiaparelli 5
Images via Met Museum and

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