Cover image for Hot pink : the life & fashions of Elsa Schiaparelli
Hot pink : the life & fashions of Elsa Schiaparelli
Publication Information:
New York : Abrams Books For Young Readers, 2015.
Physical Description:
56 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm.
Target Audience:
Presents the life and accomplishments of the fashion designer, from her early life of poverty, to her successes in the Paris fashion world, her collaboration with well-known artists of her day, and the influence of her innovative designs on later fashion.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.0 2.0 175278.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Notes
Book 746.92 RUB 1 .SOURCE. 12/15 JLG

On Order



Shocking pink--hot pink, as it is called today--was the signature colour of Elsa Schiaparelli and perhaps her greatest contribution to the fashion world. Schiaparelli was one of the most innovative designers in the early 20th century, credited with many firsts: trompe l'oeil sweaters with collars and bows knitted in; wedge heels; shoulder bags; and even the concept of a runway show for presenting collections. Hot Pink--printed with a fifth colour, hot pink!--explores Schiaparelli's childhood in Rome, her introduction to high fashion in Paris, and her swift rise to success collaborating with surrealist and cubist artists like Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. The book includes an author's note, museum list of where to find Schiaparelli's fashions, endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Art historian and biographer Rubin, who has written about art heavyweights such as Diego Rivera, Andy Warhol, René Magritte, and many others, turns to one of the first fashion designers to consider herself an artist (long before every fashionisto/fashionista made this same claim). Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) defied tradition and set out to shock and amuse with her designs. The Paris-based designer collaborated with surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau, creating lobster-embellished gowns, hats that looked like upturned shoes, and suits with drawers like a wardrobe. The collaborations were a two-way street: she influenced the artists as much as they did her. The author reminds us that the groundbreaking designer invented many things we consider fashion staples now: the color "Shocking Pink," now called hot pink; fur booties; wedge heels; bolero jackets; shoulder bags. She was also the first designer to "brand herself," licensing her name to many adjunct products (her frenemy and contemporary Coco Chanel only attached her name to her company's perfumes). This is an attractive volume (shocking pink, of course), with large, high-quality photos. Though certain highlights of Schiap's personal life are mentioned, this book concentrates on her creative work. There's a bit of pinkwashing here: some accounts of Schiaparelli mothering skills are less benevolent than Rubin's, and a mention of how Schiap disliked even five minutes' tardiness from her employees speaks volumes. VERDICT This is a stirring account of a strong-willed, one-of-a-kind woman who made it big and did it her way. Her story will inspire young creative types and anybody who feels like an outsider.-Liz French, Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Wedge shoes, shoulder bags, themed fashion collections, and the color hot pink are only a few of the firsts credited to designer Elsa Shiaparelli. Rubin (Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People) catalogues Schiaparelli's childhood influences and her rise to fashion fame in this artfully constructed biography. Born into a well-to-do Italian family, Schiaparelli-who preferred the nickname "Schiap"-reached the pinnacle of the Paris fashion scene in the 1930s: "Schiap compensated for what she believed to be her lack of naturally pretty features with her great style and helped other women do the same. She took pride in transforming women like herself." Rubin deftly describes the fashion and art scene of the time as she details Schiaparelli's innovative contributions in an easy-flowing narrative. Backdrops alternate among white, hot pink, and black, and the typeface color does the same. Full-color vignettes of Schiaparelli's bold designs (e.g., a lobster dress influenced by her friend Salvador Dalí) and b&w archival photos complete the eye-catching layout. An epilogue, author's note, bibliography, and index round out this aesthetic introduction to a groundbreaking artist. Ages 10-14. Agency: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Rubin explores the life and inventively creative accomplishments of the early-twentieth-century Italian fashion designer known as "Schiap" (pronounced "Skap") in a biography featuring some of her groundbreaking ideas, including the color "hot pink," wedge heels, and the runway show. The stylishly designed book's narrative, supplemented with numerous photos and documented quotes, offers insight into the artist's vision and outlandish ideas. Bib., ind. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

The life story of the trailblazing designer. Having tackled Leonard Bernstein, Diego Rivera, and more, Rubin now turns to one of modernism's most colorful fashion designers, Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), inventor of hot pink and a slew of fashion firsts. Known to intimates simply as "Schiap" (pronounced "skap" from "Skap-a-rell-ee," helpfully elucidated early on), the younger daughter of traditional Italian parents was born in Rome, drawing early inspiration from her librarian father's rare books. Rubin's account highlights formative moments in Schiap's rebellious youth but focuses mainly on the extraordinary accomplishments of her career. Schiap not only used fashion to compensate for internalized physical shortcomings, but extended her talents to help clothe women of all walks of life. Schiap believed that helping women "find their type" was "the secret of being well dressed." Though some of her more outlandish designs included zany hats, buttons in the shapes of vegetables, and accessories sporting insects, Schiap was also revered for path-breaking casual knitwear alongside wild couture collaborations with Man Ray and Salvador Dal. Unfortunately, while Rubin's well-researched and eye-catchingly illustrated portrayal hooks readers with the history behind "shocking" or "hot" pink and includes copious quotations from Schiaparelli herself, its overall effect is surprisingly dry. A studied account of the innovative and impulsive fashion legend that's likely to inspire budding designers of any age. (author's note, Schiaparelli facts, bibliography, notes, index) (Biography. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Influenced by the likes of Picasso, Dalí, and Man Ray, Elsa Schiaparelli shocked the fashion world with her whimsical, inventive designs. The self-taught designer is the subject of Rubin's latest biography, which follows Schiap from her multifaceted education in Italy to her meteoric success in the Paris fashion scene. On broad pages appropriately accented with shocking pink and peppered with well-reproduced photos, Rubin details Schiap's tenacious independence (The fact that I was obliged to learn things I did not care about and curb my imagination revolted me), her playfulness in her design studio, her collaborations with avant-garde artists, and her commitment to the war effort during WWII. With accessible text, an inviting format, and a comprehensive list of multimedia resources in the back matter, this concise biography is well suited to classroom use, particularly for students who prefer to approach history through art. Though the text could have benefited from more images of her outlandish, groundbreaking fashions, kids who dare to be different will be enchanted by Schiap's indomitable spirit and fearless creativity.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist