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 legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.
When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed young American teacher, visits her brother, Charlie, in Paris, he insists on buying her a couture dress—a Chanel. Lily, however, prefers a Schiaparelli. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend soon begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and much of Paris follows in her footsteps.
Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiaparelli and Chanel’s personal war. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris.
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 researching. This one definitely had me looking up both designers. This story is not just about the designers though. It is also about the strength of family and friends. Lilly would have fallen down into the well of depression if it had not been for her small clan surrounding her. Then, there is the political aspects. You are damned if you are friends with the Germans and you are damned if you are not. A very precarious position for all involved.
Now, I will not say this is a perfect read. It sort of slowed down for me in the middle. But, I still LOVED this book, especially the end. The ending gave me all the feels.
Don’t miss this one. This is twisty and emotional.