This Is Not a Schiaparelli But…

In 1928 the great Elsa Schiaparelli designed knit bathing suits which were based on her famous trompe l’oeil sweaters.  These were imported into the USA by Saks Fifth Avenue.  This suit, while not made by Schiaparelli, was certainly inspired by her designs.  It was probably made in the US, and was sold by Saks Fifth Avenue’s lower-cost cousin, Saks and Co.

The above photos and text are from my long-neglected website,   I have a page that shows off some of the swimsuits in my collection, including this one.  I bought this suit because it was so clearly influenced by the Schiaparelli bow sweaters.  Had it been a real Schiaparelli, I’d have never been able to afford it.

While browsing Pinterest today, I found my photo with the caption Elsa Schiaparelli Swimsuit.  I knew the pinner – she’s a good vintage friend – and knew she’d never have misconstrued my writing in such a way.  Sure enough, she had found my photo on another blog, with the caption, Elsa Schiaparelli Swimsuit.  And to make matters worse, lots of other people have pinned it from that site.

So now the misinformation is out there, and there is no way to get it back.  I did ask the blogger to make the correction on her blog, but the damage has been done.

I know that people love Pinterest.  I’ll admit to wasting a bit of time on the site now and then.  But there are some huge problems as far as photos getting separated from their context.   Not only is my photo all over Pinterest with no mention of my site, but now people are seeing the photo and are giving it an attribution it does not deserve.

Was my original paragraph so long and involved that people can’t read past the first sentence?  Perhaps I should change the beginning to read, “This is not a Schiaparelli but…”

I want to make it clear that I do not have a problem with the blogger taking the photos from my site.  Under the rules of Fair Use, I feel she has the right to use them.  It would have been nice had she asked first.  And it would have been really nice had she read what I actually wrote about the swimsuit.

On a lighter note, is it not just the best swimsuit ever?


Filed under Designers, Viewpoint

19 responses to “This Is Not a Schiaparelli But…

  1. This post really hits home for me. I fear this sort of thing all the time with my blog, and with the rise of Tumblr and Pinterest I decided to begin watermarking all of my images, at least that ones of me or of items that I own and discuss. I choose not to watermark the scanned images of old photographs or magazines as they really aren’t mine…I just don’t feel like I can claim any ownership of them.

    The problem with not giving credit where credit is due is two-fold. One, people should give credit! It’s the nice thing to do and people work hard to put information and images out there, and when their images are used, it’s nice to give them the credit the deserve. Two, I HATE it when I’m on Pinterest and I’m really interested in something, and want to learn more, and the “original” source is far from it! Like a lame Tumblr or whatever. Giving credit to the original source acts like a learning tool, and without it, things like what you mentioned here happen!

    And, yes, this is indeed one of the best swimsuits ever! I do wish more suits were fun and whimsical like this!


    • I started watermarking for this reason too–if I’m somewhere on Pinterest, I’d really like it if it eventually links someone back to my site. And I totally agree, I haven’t figured out Pinterest yet, but I’ve noticed there’s not always a lot of source notation, which makes it really hard for me to trust the stuff I find.


  2. Love the swimsuit and recognized it instantly as one I’d repinned. I’d be very happy to correct the information and link to your blog (this one?), or take it down if you’d prefer. Getting the story behind a beautiful piece like this is a treat!


  3. Ah Pinterest. It is a love / hate relationship. I always try to find the original source of any photo I repin or pin. I do however think Pinterest isn’t the only culprit for taking images away from their original context. Tumblr is just as bad. 🙂


  4. I do love that suit. Is it wool jersey? I wish someone would re-release those deco-style bow sweaters. I remember when they had a resurgence in the 70s. They were fun and easy to wear.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with the Love/Hate relationship with Pinterest – I am forever correcting incorrectly identified items but I would have to spend all day every day to correct the things I see just in fashion – I can only imagine the miss-attributions in other disciplines!


    • I spent an hour yesterday trying to track down that photo and post a correction, but I eventually gave up. The blogger did remove the reference to Schiaparelli in her blog, so the misinformation will stop from that end, but by now the photos has been repinned dozens of times.



    not trompe l’oeil in the least >|?'œil
    tell me how please?


  7. The knitting site Ravelry has patterns for those amazing Schiaparelli inspired bow sweaters–take a look: It’s way beyond my skill grade. I continue to wonder how anyone could have swum in a wool knit suit…


    • That’s enough to make one want to take knitting lessons.

      It must have been that wool knits were so much better than the long and bulky get-ups they replaced. But then wool knit suits were made in the 1960s. I have one from about 1962 by Rudi Gernreich.


  8. agreed, best swimsuit ever.



    Liz…do you have any thoughts on how to stretch a felt wool hat ? Maybe 1/2 ” or less.


  10. Pingback: This Is Not a Schiaparelli But… – Lotte Lovisa

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