This week we are featuring one of the industries most innovative and successful female costume jewelry designers, Elsa Schiaparelli. Born in Rome italy in 1890, Elsa was drawn to the arts at an early age. She opened her first couture fashion house in Paris, where she became a direct competitor to Coco Chanel, and later became known as her biggest rival. With the onset of World War II, Elsa left paris and headed for New York City. In 1949 she opened up her of fashion house, where she created designs that were daring, bold and cutting edge. She was the first to popularize the shocking color pink, in the 1920's among the standard color pallete of brown, blue and black. She frequently used synthetic fabric, and zipper closures, making designs that reflected her sense of fun and inspiration she found from her friends in the surrealist painters movement. She was also the first major designer to open a ready to wear boutique in New York City. In the 1930's she began designing jewelry. Each piece had her distinct flair to it, and it was a collection of whimsical designs, circus characters, signs of the zodiac, and surrealist pieces inspired by her friend Salvador Dali. Elsa Schiaparellli was a true visionary who's designs and influence can still be seen in the designs of clothing and jewelry of today.