The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel
Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli ("Schiap") are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is al ...more
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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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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.
Coco Chanel is a name most people recognize even if they don’t give a hoot about fashion. Elsa Schiaparelli is not a name most people would recognize unless they really knew the history of couture fashion. I had no clue who Elsa Schiaparelli was until I read The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin. Suddenly, I found myself Googling anything I could find on Elsa. What I found was that Elsa’s legacy to fashion was great and that little ...more
I absolutely loved this book. The feud between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli is described to perfection while Lily sits on the sidelines, being a neutral bystander. Amidst their rivalry, the threat of World War II brings tension to the ...more
As the author tells us in her interesting and informative notes at the end o ...more
From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.
An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this vivid novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.
Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli ("Schiap") are fighting for recognition as the ...more
With international tensions rising, young widow Lily travels to Paris at the behest of her beloved brother, where she is introduced to the world of high fashion, specifically the rivalry between Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. She finds an affinity for "Schiap's" outlandish, boundary-pushing clothing and warm nature, and soon begins working as the designer's studio painting backdrops and later acts as a companion to Schiap's young ...more
I love a good historical/ history and I found it in this book. Could not wait to read it.
The author did a great job in her research about this time era. She brought the characters to
life and pulled you into the story. The story takes place in pre-war Paris. Paris in on the brink of
WW2. This is a great time for Paris and the fashion industry. We meet Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, two great fashion designer and great competitors. They are two great opposite ...more
I received an advance copy of this from BookBrowse in return for a fair review.
“If blue is the color of paradox, and red the color of life and death and the passion between the beginnings and endings, then yellow is the color of what is most precious…….and is the color of fear”
This jewel of a story uses color to describe feelings and events during the time of fascination and fear in Paris prior to Hitler. But even more powerful is the story of two fashion icons of the time, Elsa Schiaparelli a ...more
This novel was fascinating to me, I had never heard of Elsa Schiaparelli before so I got to learn a lot about her, even though this was a fictionalized account of her life. Coco Chanel was always such an enigmatic figure, and this novel brought her spectacularly to life.
We see these two women through the eyes, and life, of Lily. A woman who loves Schiaparelli designs, and ends up working for ...more
Jeanne Mackin uses character Lily Cooper as her vehicle to tell the story. Lily is a young recently widowed American whose brother Charlie invites her to Paris to visit him. Through Charlie’s starcrossed lover Ania, she gains entry into high cl ...more
A novel of high fashion set in Paris on the brink of war - this book had too many of my favorite things for me not to love it. Lily Sutter, a quiet American schoolteacher, gets caught up almost too easily in the epic rivalry between the fashion designers Elsa Schiaparelli (artistic & whimsical) and Coco Chanel (classy & elegant). Through Lily's eyes, the reader receives an up-close-and-personal view of the Parisian fashion industry, fro ...more
At one point the author in discussing a painting mentions that a thin wash of gray can make the background recede more from the foreground. It was as though a thin wash of gray lay between the story and the reader. It felt as though everything was being told through the heavy grief of this guilt ridden widow. Yet, though unable to paint because of it, she sees vibrant color everywhere and mentions it endlessly, as though to show the reader just how many colors sh ...more
I was fascinated by the personalities of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli and the intricacies of Haute Couture and politics in Paris just before and during WWII. But I was also intrigued by the daily life of various classes of people (upper class, middle class, merchants, professionals, wage workers, spies, artists, military, etc.) during that same period. Even the Ritz Hotel and the various cafes became a part of the story.
I was so curious about the gowns be ...more
Fashion and art are always fascinating topics but the rivalry between Paris designers, Schiaparelli and Chanel, makes for an exhilarating read! Mackin makes the fashion world come alive as she weaves a riveting tale of competition between these two powerful women during the backdrop of the 1930’s and WWII through the eyes of Lily Sutter, an American widow who is also an aspiring artist. Artfully researched, the characters come alive and although Elsa and Coco are primary, the other characters; C ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and found it quite a page-turner. The comparison between Chanel and Schiaparelli is interesting and well-drawn, as is the lead-up to WWII in Paris. Simply reading about Paris, the parties, cocktails at the Ritz, art, and couture was delightful and knowing about the dreadful war looking on the horizon made it all the more compelling.
Lily's part of the story was ...more