May 12, 2012
1stdibs.com, the marketplace for all things vintage, will unveil a selection of rare Elsa Schiaparelli jewelry, timed to a museum show that connects her work to that of another influential Italian designer, Miuccia Prada. The items for sale were made between the 1930s and 1950s. They range in price from $350, for a pair of japanned metal ear clips, to more than $50,000 for a makeup compact shaped like a rotary telephone dial, which Schiaparelli designed with Salvador Dali around 1935.
The exhibition that this collection is pegged to, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” opens on May 10 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. In the show’s handsome catalog, distributed by Yale University Press, Judith Thurman writes that the kinship between the two Italian designers is “so striking as to seem mimetic.” While there are some expensive couture pieces, much of this collection consists of licensed jewelry that Schiaparelli had mass-produced in the ’50s. In New York, these pieces — like a very Deco palm leaf brooch ($350) or an Anglo-Indian wirework bib ($1,250) — originally sold at stores like Bonwit Teller or Saks Fifth Avenue for about $40 each.