Color Story

Shocking Pink . . . A Joy Forever: Incorporate Elsa Schiaparelli’s Signature Color into Your Life

(from the top, left to right)
C. Ahlbäck, A. Meilliez, R. Foster, H. van Dapparen, A. Maggi, S. Salin, D. Kozeletckiy, A. Harper


With the recent opening of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s much-anticipated exhibition, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” the enduring chic of iconic fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli is ­­­the talk of the town.

The exhibition, organized by The Met’s Costume Institute, explores the influence of Surrealism and other similarities in the work of Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, two Italian women unafraid of subverting traditional notions of taste, beauty, and glamour in their designs.

Known for her eccentric flair and frequent collaborations with Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, Schiaparelli, who died in 1973, held court alongside Coco Chanel in Paris between the wars. Inspired by the 17 carat pink diamond owned by her client and Singer sewing machine heiress, Daisy Fellowes, Schiaparelli adopted the hue as her signature color, and called it “shocking pink.”

Shocking pink, or hot pink, quickly became a prominent feature in her designs, such as in the heel-portion of her infamous “Shoe” hat. So enamored was she with the color and its suggestive power, Schiaparelli even named a perfume after it, “Shocking de Schiaparelli.” This color, she felt, was “bright, impossible, impudent, becoming, life-giving, like all the light and the birds and the fish in the world put together, a color of China and Peru but not of the West – a shocking color, pure and undiluted’.” Accordingly, the color became impossible for the fête-set of the 1930s and ‘40s to resist.

Looking to introduce some “Schiap” into your own life? Check out this Shocking Pink collection of original and affordable art from Saatchi Online. Art is a fantastic way to incorporate some pink shock appeal into your everyday life – and makes for a great conversation piece at your next cocktail party! Browse the entire Shocking Pink collection.


(Written by Nicole Garton)


Nicole Garton lives in Los Angeles.  She tracks the contemporary zeitgeist, writing about lifestyle trends, cultural events, and creative people with guts.