There's so much to say about this skirt! It's a classic 1950s circle skirt, but the embroidered, bejeweled hands decorating the skirt can be interpreted through a variety of lenses. More than just a decorative motif, these hands reach toward artistic movements of the 20th century, including Surrealism and Mexican folk art.
The ghostly white, disembodied hands suggest the work of Surrealist artists, including that of Elsa Schiaparelli, queen of Surrealist fashion. The primary goal of Surrealist art and literature was to liberate individual and collective consciousness by integrating the world of dreams with conventional perceptions of reality. In visual terms, this goal was expressed through startling, sometimes shocking, juxtapositions that forced familiar objects into new realms. Meret Oppenheim's 1936 fur-covered teacup, saucer and spoon is a classic example of the way Surrealist art forces the viewer to reevaluate conventional reality.
Surrealists often featured disembodied body parts in their visual art. Eyes, hands and lips were removed from the body, floating through space with no anchor or hint as to their practical purpose. Elsa Schiaparelli used a pair of manicured hands to fasten her 1934 belt; this clasp that has been imitated many times since. Though created in the 1950s, after the 1930s heyday of Surrealist art, the embroidered hands decorating this circle skirt suggest a link to the work of Surrealist art.