Parisian fashion designer of the 1920s and 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli, was the first to use shoulder pads, animal prints (in 1947), and zippers dyed the same color as the fabric. But that's not why I look up to her. She was a daring character, never afraid to take risks: “I have never been shy of appearing in public in the most fantastic and personal get-up,” she wrote in Shocking Life, her autobiography. On the same note, she wasn't scared to design eccentric clothing for her clients. In 1931, she created a divided tennis skirt for a Wimbledon Championship player that shocked the tennis world. That was Elsa for you!
She is most known for spearheading the marriage of fashion and art. Most notably, she worked with artist Salvador Dalí to create art-inspired designs like a white dress with a gigantic lobster, taken from the artist's lobster telephone from 1936. Though I'm sad I never got a chance to meet Elsa — she died in 1973 at the age of 83 — her work and style will always be an inspiration.
To see a gallery of Elsa Schiaparelli and her designs,