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Legendary Italian fashion designer's clothes auctioned.

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Legendary Italian fashion designer's clothes auctioned.

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The personal collection of Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli is to be auctioned by Christies in Paris.

A rival of Coco Chanel, Schiapareli was at the heart of avant-garde ideas during the 1930s.

Around 180 items, currently owned by the legendary designer’s granddaughter Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson will go under the hammer.

“She was the most modern woman and designer up to this day, it’s why everybody still is so inspired by her because nothing is old fashioned. Everything is totally modern and new all the time,” Schiaparelli Berenson said.

Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli’s designs were heavily influenced by her collaborations with artistic icons Salvador Dalí, Man Ray and Christian Bérard

International specialist director of Christies’ fashion and textiles department Patricia Frost said: “I think Schiaparelli influenced people who followed her by being unusual, by being not one of the crowd. She had fantastic cutting skills so the structures of her dresses are amazing. It may look like a little black dress but it’s very complicated. And she also used colour in a way that was really innovative in the 1930s. She used shocking pink, the sleeping blue. She invented colours that she made her own.”

In addition, for being credited for her playfulness and bringing about a sense of ‘‘anything goes’‘ Schiaparelli embraced new technologies and textiles of the time

“She was just a liberated woman as great women are. She just had the courage to be herself and be in her own truth, and be a creative person and she was very free. She lived the life that she wanted to live and the way she wanted, she earned her own money,” said Schiaparelli Berenson.

The sale is expected to fetch in excess of 850,000 euros.

The auction comes as The House of Schiaparelli, which closed in 1954, is relaunched by creative director Marco Zanini.

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