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The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  536 ratings  ·  217 reviews
An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this captivating novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.

Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Berkley Books
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  536 ratings  ·  217 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

"I couldn't..." he whispered, bending close to my ear.

"I know."

"I wanted..."

"I know that, too."
Few rivalries were as brilliant, vibrant and long-standing as the one between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.

Lily Sutter, a recently widowed American woman, has managed to wander between the two feuding females thanks to her hapless brother.

Charlie, Lily's brother, sents her a desperate, cryptic note and so she travels to Paris in 1938.
"Oh Charlie. What have you gotten yourself into?"
Holly  B

4.25 STARS

A beautifully written novel highlighting two famous fashion designer icons. The gossip and rivalry was ever so entertaining and at times even shocking!

The Paris setting was fascinating as tensions were building as Germany and Hitler were on the move towards France.  It was a dangerous time in history.  I was curious how the designers would react to the invasion.

The novel follows Lily Sutter, an American teacher who travels to Paris to visit her brother.  She becomes a focus between t
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Two iconic fashion designers who couldn’t be more different: one is French and one is Italian, one is from wealth and the other is from poverty. They possessed different aesthetics, different political views and very different personality types. Coco Chanel is famous for simple lines, natural shapes and the introduction of trousers while Elsa Schiaparelli is famous for idiosyncrasy, whimsy, and the introduction of culottes. Prior to WWII, both befriend a penniless American widow who becomes enme ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The focus of The Last Collection is the rivalry between fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. Oh my! What a rivalry it was! Fierce! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

In 1938 Paris, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are each trying to be the most well-known designer in France. Everyone knows they are rivals. Because of this, they choose to be polar opposites in every way. Where Chanel is classic and understated, Schiaparelli is bold and edgy.

Lily Sutter is a young American teacher visiting her brother, Ch
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free from the publisher (Berkley Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

This was a really fascinating book. It combined pre-WWII and WWII historical fiction with the cut throat world of haute couture fashion. It took me a little longer to get interested in it, but once I was, I was hooked!

Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are two very intriguing women and this book does a great job showcasing their legendary rivalry. As the author writes, “Men who persist in the b
Brenda - Host of Traveling Sisters & Friends
3.5 Stars

The Last Collection is a fun and entertaining yet heartfelt story that explores the rivalry between iconic fashion designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. Jeanne Mackin does a fantastic job of bringing both women alive and showing us just how different they are from their designs to their political sides. I was drawn into their obsession with besting each other right from start to end. Jeanne Mackin does a good job weaving a part of history here by adding some tension to the story
Stephanie (Stephanie's Novel Fiction)
I've always been a lover of fashion, was obsessed with fashion designers and design at one point in my life thanks to my artist mother who scattered our home with fashion magazines because she, just like Elsa Schiaparelli, always said couture and high fashion is every much an art form as paintings or drawings. Reading The Last Collection was just sublime as I loved reading more about icons Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, two women who couldn't be more different if they tried, and their well-k ...more
Renee Rosen
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating look at two fashion icons as different as the clothes they designed. Review coming soon!
THE LAST COLLECTION is a great read which took me into the world of couture with Chanel and Schiaparelli. The novel begins with a young American widow, Lily, going to Paris to visit her brother. Soon after arriving her brother wants to purchase a Chanel gown for Lily , but Lily prefers a Schiaparelli gown. When her brother returns to the US, Lily gets a job with Schiaparelli and becomes acquainted with Chanel. World War II is approaching and life is getting dangerous. I loved this novel, and I b ...more
Cindy Burnett
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

The Last Collection chronicles the careers and rivalry between Coco Chanel and Else Schiaparelli beginning in Paris at the start of World War 2. Polar opposites in almost every way, the two women find themselves pitted against each other in their competition to rule the French fashion industry during the glamorous 1930s and 1940s. Chanel favored a more tailored and elegant look while Schiap (as she was known to many) chose to make statements with her designs and often experimented with
Aug 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'm happy to finally have finished this one.

This sounded so good and interesting and a topic that I wasn't familiar with at all (PLUS WW2 themes) sign me up! This book fell flat real quick and I'm glad that it's over.

The story is told from a random perspective of Lily, who goes to Paris to visit her brother Charles and befriends Elsa (Schiap) and Coco. She gets involved in the middle of the feud and a love affair between her brother and Ania- a gorgeous married woman. Hitler is invading other co
Catfight's Are Never Out of Fashion
I have read many novels set during World War II but none told from the perspective of Jeanne Mackin’s The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel ruled the fashion world in 1938 Paris. Both of these women had a vision. Both were strong-minded and tough-skinned. Albeit, as business women, they faced and overcame many obstacles. In every other regard, they were polar opposites and arch nemeses. Their intens
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Lily Sutter had no idea that an invitation from her brother to come to Paris would introduce her both to Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. The year is 1939, and the Nazi threat is growing stronger and stronger. However, in Paris is it already war - a fashion war between Chanel and Schiaparelli. For Lily, it all starts with her wanting a Schiaparelli dress instead of a Chanel. Suddenly, Lily a teacher, is offered a job at Schiaparelli store. But it's a time of unrest and being in Paris at the ti ...more
Chanel Cleeton
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exquisitely melding world politics and high fashion, The Last Collection is a smart, witty, heartfelt, and riveting look at the infamous rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli set against a gripping period in history. Mackin’s powerful novel brings these characters to life and transports the reader, juxtaposing both the gaiety and tension of Paris on the brink of war. As elegant and captivating as the designs depicted in the novel, The Last Collection is the perfect read for both hist ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction revolving around the two great fashion designers, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, who each had very successful fashion houses in Paris and were intense rivals.

The story begins in 1938 and is told from the point of view of Lily, a young, grieving widow and aspiring artist who comes to Paris at the urging of her younger brother Charlie. There she meets both fashion designers through Charlie's wealthy and beautiful lover, Ania, and forms a friendship with both women.

Coco and
My rating incorporates my lifelong fascination with both famous Paris designers. An appreciation learned from my mother: with her strong elegance and style.
Mackin used the analogy of colour throughout, since she uses an artist whose fascination is painting the colors of modern art, as her narrator. The artist expresses everything in colour to describe times, events, people and places. Eg ..."like the last application of colour to a canvass"..."layer upon layer of colour, and when the final one i
Sharon Huether
1938 in Paris two rival dress designers were still at it.
Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli; their salons within walking distance of each other. Coco's designs were always classic and Elsa's were brilliant, one more showier than the last one. Her favorite color was a shocking pink and was used a lot in her designs.

War was on the horizon, everything changed in Paris.
Uniforms for soldiers were manufactured as well as silks were made into parachutes.

Schiaparelli retired and Chanel kept going.

An inte
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to note that I tackled Jeanne Mackin’s The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel as a buddy read with one of my favorite fellow book bloggers. Magdalena reviews books at A Bookaholic Swede and if you haven’t done so already, I really recommend checking her site out. She’s a prolific reader and has a great catalog of honest reviews spanning a variety of genr
Lady Em
Jul 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one I know; All my GR friends have appropriate IQs and literary discernment.S
Recommended to Lady Em by: I loathe Chanel, and wanted to see how she was depicted here.
OK. This was a horrible book. The history from start to finish was wrong, bad, improbable, and unbelievable. No exceptions. Everything about Paris in 1938 was just flat wrong, from the city itself, its landmarks, its ambiance, everything. I've gotten better details from a MapQuest printout.

It takes some real effort to make Chanel and Schiaparelli boring, plastic, and ridiculous. The book would have been much better served had these two larger-than-life prima donnas occupied the stage by themselv
WOW! Simply stunning! I would have never picked this book up on my own and am deeply grateful to Chanel Cleeton and Berkley Publishing. If I had not won your Instagram contest, I would never have known what I was missing!

This story brings to life the fascinating lives of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. It begins in the late 1930s at the beginning of Hitler's reign and spans through the world's deadliest conflict, the second World War, and ends in 1954. Jeanne Mackin brilliantly portrays the
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Last Collection: A story of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to flip through the pages.

Travel back in time to Paris in 1938, where Lily, newly widowed, comes across the ocean from New York to visit her brother.
Paris at this time is bathed in fashion. The couturiers are flourishing and fashion dictates everything—what you did, where you went, how you shopped and lived. Fashion set the stage for the whole wo
ARC received courtesy of Berkley Publishing

I had no point of reference for this book and was a bit worried when I started that it would be difficult to read. I need not have worried, it is so well-researched and so well-written that I became immersed in the characters of this story.

Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel were THE coutre fashion designers of the 30's. They were opposite in almost every way and became sworn enemies. Into the drama between these two powerhouse women came Lily Sutter. Lil
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of this, and here are my thoughts:
THE LAST COLLECTION brings to center stage the fascinating life of Elsa Schiaparelli in a story that is as elegantly constructed as the clothes she designed. The combination of Schiap’s fierce rivalry with Coco Chanel and the inevitable war makes for a palpable tension and Jeanne Mackin ultimately delivers an ending that is beautiful, heartbreaking, and perfect in every way.
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The French fashion industry becomes its own battleground as two women strive to become the foremost powerhouse in the world of women’s high couture. This tale plays out in the midst of the horrors of World War II and the German occupation of Paris while one American woman gets caught up in the rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli that spans political, social and fashionable venues.

Slightly dark, the feeling of tension plays throughout as Lily Sutter, a young widow becomes both a paw
Jillian Doherty
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not just a story about the fashion couture woman of Paris, Edna Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel in the 1940s. But that of Lily Cooper finding her new way in the world.

She also consciously, and unknowingly, helps those around her as well during her unexpected life in France, and NY.

The emotional adventure feels as familiar to many of our own exhilarations today ~ all accented with rich illustrated, WWII, and fashion rivalries.

Galley borrowed from the publisher.

Leigh Kramer
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I will read anything when it comes to the fashion greats. The world of couture is largely out of my reach, unless I happen to find something at a consignment shop, but I regularly read the magazines and follow collections and designers online. In that way, fashion is more accessible now, even if not always conducive to my budget.

I’ve read a few books about Coco Chanel, both fiction and nonfiction, but I cannot recall reading anything about Elsa Schiaparelli before, nor could I easily recall anyt
Suzanne (The Bookish Libra)
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tina Woodbury
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lily Sutter is an art teacher at an all girls school. Her brother Charlie telegrams her, asking her to come visit him in Paris. The thought of going to Paris might just be what she needs, as she is still reeling from the passing of her husband Allen. It is in Paris that she meets two amazing designers, although quite different in style, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli (Schiap).

Much of this story revolves around archrivals Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. Oh boy, there is no love lost here be
Heather Webb
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chanel is all pearls and clean lines; Schiaparelli is bold color and invention. And then there’s Lily, a nuanced and sympathetic protagonist whose fate becomes entwined with the feuding designers as she begins to make designs of her own. Soon, Lily finds herself on a journey of self-discovery she never expected—a call to find her own courage. By turns fascinating and tense, THE LAST COLLECTION is a colorful and evocative novel about the price of loyalty.
Reeca Elliott
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, kindle-app
Lily has recently lost her husband and she is just barely making it through life. She meets her brother, Charlie, in Paris. He is determined to cheer her up by buying her a couture gown. Lilly wants a Schiaparelli. This purchase changes her life. Lilly is hired as an artist by Schiaparelli. This throws her right in the middle of the feud between Schiaparelli and Chanel.

I have read a little about Chanel but nothing about Schiaparelli. So I learned a great bit. I enjoy books that have me researchi
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Jeanne Mackin is the author of The Beautiful American and A Lady of Good Family. In addition to several other novels as well as short fiction and creative nonfiction, she is the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers and co-editor of The Norton Book of Love. She lives with her husband in upstate New York.