Look closer. Much closer. What do you see?  

They look classy and classic but once you realize what they really are, you are bound to smile.  

On closer inspection, the splendid, huge, white pearls are… teeth!  

Each gold-colored tooth is clutching a massive, teardrop-shaped pearl.  

The Large Tooth Earrings and Tooth Bracelet in gilded brass with white pearls, from Schiaparelli’s Autumn–Winter 2020/21 Ready-to-Wear collection are a direct expression of the temperamental and unpredictable nature of the Maison.  

The founder of the Maison, Elsa Schiaparelli, was always balancing on the edge of surreal glamour. Experimenting and remodeling classics, submerged in the spectacular art of her close friends Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Jean Cocteau, she brought the avant-garde and eccentric vision of art into fashion.   

The innovative and influential artist and designer who was the first to use brightly colored zippers and figural buttons resembling small brooches in her clothing designs, the visionary inventor of “Shocking Pink” – the ultra-bright magenta hue – Elsa was not one to err on the side of safety.  

Nor was status quo her territory, whether in color choices or in the cuts and shapes of her clothes. Schiaparelli’s divided skirts – predecessors of the modern, chic culottes – caused a straight-out scandal and condemnation by the conservative British press back at the beginning of the 20th century. She challenged, recolored and reshaped what was considered fashionable in sharp contrast to her elegant rival, Coco Chanel, creator of the minimalist, ultra-feminine little black dress.  

Schiaparelli reputedly referred to Chanel as to “that dreary little bourgeoisie” and “that milliner”, while Mademoiselle Chanel backlashed with a dismissive “that Italian artist who makes clothes”. Coco Chanel is even said to have tried to set Elsa on fire at a high-society costume ball, just before the outbreak of World War II.  

Their takes on jewelry were also diametrically opposite: Chanel’s understated, simple elegance versus Schiaparelli’s unrestrained, never-before-seen shapes and colors.  

Today, Maison Schiaparelli continues to produce cool and edgy clothing and jewelry. They dressed Michelle Obama for Barack Obama’s second inauguration and Lady Gaga when she performed The Star-Spangled Banner, America’s national anthem, at Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Daniel Roseberry, Artistic Director of the Maison, summarizes its philosophy in a razor-sharp comment to Vogue (link: https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-couture/schiaparelli): “It’s just something that’s not as polite as couture typically tends to be.”  

The powerful statement Tooth Earrings and Bracelet by Schiaparelli capture the glorious and most amusing moments of life, the phantasmagorical and hilarious moments of our existence, with the unstoppable creativity and imagination of the Maison’s designers generating an alternative vision to the ubiquitous white pearl classics.  

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