Her first Parisian designs were heavily influenced by Surrealism. She had a great sense of humor. What do you think of the fur shoes (above), or the hat (also above) that deliberately looked like an upside-down shoe?
After a time she set up a second studio in Britain, to be close to the wool manufacturers. They were experimenting with all sorts of new weaves and she wanted to be the first to see if anything interesting could be done with them. Seeing that a famous designer had set up shop right across the street, the mill people went out of their way to come up with new fabrics for her. It's a case of art and industry combining for mutual benefit.
She designed funny, over-the-top clothing all her life, but the designs which most interest me (above) are the minimalist, almost military designs she did in the thirties and forties.
[Let me digress for a moment to defend Klein against his many detractors. Like a lot of people I was dismayed when Klein turned jeans into a high fashion item. It seemed to defeat the whole purpose of jeans, which was to break down class barriers and promote a youthful, adventurous approach to life. What I failed to realize was that tastes change and jeans were doomed to drop out of sight anyway. By adding design to them Klein gave them decades of additional life on the shelves...and they still functioned as class levelers. No small achievement, that. Klein was a hero.]
I don't think Schiaparelli designed this (above), but it owes a lot to her sense of fun and surrealism. Lots of things we take for granted now began, at least in part, in Shiaparelli's head. One writer credits her with the idea of the fashion show, with it's combination of runway, art, music and long, skinny women. Man, some people just write their names on an entire age!