Salvador Dali's rotary dial cosmetics compact

Up for auction on eBay is this fantastic cosmetics compact that Salvador Dali designed in 1935 for fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Over the years, Dali worked with Schiaparelli several times. From Dali Planet:
Dalicompppp He inspired printed fabrics for her collections, in which the pattern represents the torn flesh of animals, and made her a skeleton dress, a pink belt with lips for a buckle, a hat like an upside-down shoe, another hat shaped like a giant lamb chop and a lobster-print frock that was worn by the Duchess of Windsor for a pre-wedding portrait for Vogue by photographer Cecil Beaton.

The Duchess seemed unaware that the lobster was positioned almost as a fig leaf or a long arm reaching up to the precise part of her anatomy that had caused the abdication crisis.


  1. What a cool looking compact, would love to have it. I remember these phones when I was a child.

  2. Remember the DC comic book ‘Dial H for Hero’? Well, nobody else does, either. But the ‘Hero’ of the title had a stand-alone dial like this that let him dial up different powers.

    Dali would have loved it.

  3. Wow, over $12,000 was last auction price, now just $400 with a day to go on eBay! Is the economy really that bad?

  4. yay: Dali, he’s foreign and I saw his stuff in Barcelona so it must be cool – I love it when an intellectual person makes a good poster for my dorm-room …hang on, really? – he used to send murderous Spanish dictator Franco congratulatory telegrams on executing prisoners? …oh well, I guess I’ll have to adopt another photogenic person to “like”: how about that nice boy Ché? …what, him too?

  5. The lobster dress has little green floral sprig things overall… and they’re parsely! It’s so great. There’s also a lobster phone (with a lobster for a handpiece on a normal black rotary phone base). And the shoe hat is one of the most brilliant commentaries on the absurdity of fashion ever; it’s pretty much a classic high-heeled pump scaled up a bit to be worn upside down on your head. The Schiaparelli/Dali collaborations are pretty much pure awesome.

    @5: just because we disagree with (or just don’t know about) someone’s politics, doesn’t mean we can’t accept them as great artists – especially after their deaths. Obviously this does not apply to images of Che, who was not an artist, but people put Dali stuff on their walls as an artistic statement, not a political one. Including Dali’s face, with its very intentionally surrealist mustache; Dali made his face art on purpose, also unlike Che. There’s a big difference between liking an artistic figure *despite* his politics, and making art of a political figure *because* of his politics (even if it’s later adopted by people who just think it’s “cool”). You’re comparing apples and oranges.

    Assuming, of course, that Dali was being serious and straightforward in sending those telegrams in the first place, rather than doing so as an act of surrealism or a publicity stunt or because he wanted to prevent his work being banned, all of which are quite possible motives given his general behavior. One can hardly be sure of his actual politics in the first place.

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