The Lobster Dress is a long white silk organza dress with a scarlet waist-band designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Salvador Dalì, who handpainted the lobster on the skirt.
Inspired by the Spanish artist’s Lobster Phone (1936), Schiaparelli has been the first to create a connection between the worlds of art and fashion: her designs will be longly influenced by surrealism, and she will collaborate again with Dalì on her Skelton dress and the Tears dress.
The Lobster Dress was worn by controversial Wallis Simpson – future wife of the Duke of Windsor – in a phoshoot by Cecil Beaton taken at the Château de Candé (France) before her wedding. The photos were considered scandalous for the age, because of the sexual connotations that the dress implied. Sure enough the lobster was a symbol of sexuality according to Dalì, hence the position where he decided to place it. A rumor says that the artist even wanted to put real mayonnaise on the skirt, but Schiaparelli objected.
The design of the dress was reinterpreted by Miuccia Prada in 2012, and Anna Wintour wore it on the MET red carpet en homage of the exhibition Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossibile Conversations.
The dress is currently stored at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.