The Last Collection
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.

The Last Collection Details

TitleThe Last Collection
Author
ReleaseJun 25th, 2019
PublisherBerkley Books
ISBN-139781101990544
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Couture, Fashion

The Last Collection Review

  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 enmeshed in their bitter rivalry. Their friendship continues through WWII and shortly beyond. Filled with the glitz and glamour of Paris during the heady days of indulgence before the war, this is solid historical fiction perfect for summer reading.
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  • Renee Rosen
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating look at two fashion icons as different as the clothes they designed. Review coming soon!
  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThe 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 4.5 starsThe 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 avant-garde and daring looks.Mackin creates a fictional character, American Lily Sutter, to tell the story of the two fashion designers which works effectively. Lily works for Schiap in Paris, but also has a connection to Chanel through her brother and his married girlfriend so she is able to provide fabulous tales and insights about both of the women and the fashion industry itself. In the background of the designers’ stories is the Nazi threat and Germany’s eventual occupation of Paris.The Last Collection is an in-depth tale of a glamorous, dangerous, and fascinating time period in Paris, and Mackin’s attention to detail and lyrical prose bring Chanel and Schiap to life in a gorgeous and riveting manner.
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  • Chanel Cleeton
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 historical fiction lovers and fashion aficionados. Simply stunning.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 genres.Having said that, I have to say I’m at odds with this book. I loved much of what Mackin chose to incorporate, but I often felt the various elements of the story existed in competition with rather than in compliment of one another.The rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli was wonderfully drawn and I was impressed with how intriguing it proved despite my decidedly limited understanding of high fashion. Long story short, it would be a mistake to classify this novel as a niche interest fiction especially when one considers the enormity of the politics that grow to characterize and influence this formidable competition.Lily provided a wonder emotional note to the narrative, but I didn’t think her role as intrinsic as other readers. Her arc is compelling and allowed Mackin to explore lovely parallels between fine art and fashion design, but it felt tagged onto something that didn’t need her at its center.A solid story with intriguing themes but not a compulsive page-turner. I loved the ideas and concepts of this piece but struggled to appreciate it as a single and comprehensive story.
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  • FMABookReviews
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 effects the war had on the fashion world and her characters.Lilly Sutter's brother, Charlie is in France and madly in love with a married woman. Needing someone to accompany him and Ania on their dates, he telegrams Lilly and asks her to come to Paris. Even though he can't afford it, he insists on buying her a Chanel gown for the event they are all going to. But Lilly prefers Schiaparelli to Chanel and when Ania discovers Schiap's fashions, she switches her loyalties from Chanel to Schiaparelli. Suddenly, Lilly finds herself splitting friendships between Coco and Schiaparelli, two of Paris's most revered fashion designers and fierce rivals. One of the things I first noticed when I started this book was the beautiful writing of Jeanne Mackin. Her voice is like nothing I've ever read. Her characters are beautiful and real. She captured Paris with stunning descriptions that made me feel like I was standing on the same streets her characters stood or stared at the same paintings her characters enjoyed.I grew up with my mother loving fashion. As a single parent of two girls, she wasn't able to afford Chanel, but we had plenty of fashion magazines laying around the house. I poured through those magazines and dreamed of one day wearing those designs. Reading this book was like reminiscing my childhood, it brought to life the designers and fashion I used to daydream about. My reading choices are romance with a bit of self-help thrown in. But sometimes you just need to go out on a limb and jump! That's what I did, and I cannot tell you how happy I am that the cover, description and subject matter intrigued me enough to take the chance. To my romance-loving friends, I beg of you to give this a shot. THE LAST COLLECTION is a riveting portrayal of love, rivalry, loyalty, and passion.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 believe other women will too!
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  • Kelley
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received courtesy of Berkley PublishingI 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 ARC received courtesy of Berkley PublishingI 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. Lilly was called to Paris by her charming brother Charlie who she hadn't seen in a few years. She needed a place to heal the grief she suffered from her husband's death and Charlie needed her there to be a buffer between his girlfriend's husband and him. As Lilly becomes immersed in the fashion house of Schiaparelli, the drums of war beat ever closer, ever harder. Because of the connections Lilly made through the fashion houses, she is able to escape Paris before it falls to the Germans.There is so much history in this book that I never knew but the history became secondary to a wonderful story. The characters are marvelously written--Chanel and Schiaparelli with their larger than life personalities jump off the page. I could feel the fear that coursed through Paris like it was another character in the book. This was a wonderful and unexpected treat to read.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Heather Webb
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    Goodreads First Reads Review - Free Book from Berkeley PublishingCoco 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 Goodreads First Reads Review - Free Book from Berkeley PublishingCoco 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 has been written about her while you can read volumes about the famous Coco. The Last Collection is fiction with a bit of truth here and there told by the fictional Lily Sutter who, by a stroke of luck and a handsome brother, became friends with both Coco and Elsa. Taking place in Paris and the United States before, during, and after WWII, this book gives you a good idea about the fierce rivalry that existed between these two strong and powerful women. I enjoyed The Last Collection because it introduced me to an important woman of fashion that I otherwise would never have heard of. And while this book is good, the main character, Lily was not my favorite. There was really something dull and flat about her character. Maybe it is because Coco and Elsa were so vivid and colorful that Lily just seemed blah to me. Maybe that was the point. Because this is really Lilly’s story to tell. My rating: 3.5 stars. Thank you Berkeley Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Coleen
    January 1, 1970
    While I have never been a big fan of Coco Chanel and never knew much about Elsa Schiaparelli and have never been enamored of high fashions, I enjoyed the book. The story centers on Lily Sutter, a teacher from New York who travels to Paris at her brother's invitation in 1938. There she finds that her brother, Charlie, is involved with a married French woman, with all that the relationship entails. Most of the action takes place in Paris [big plus for me] and the timing is historically exciting fo While I have never been a big fan of Coco Chanel and never knew much about Elsa Schiaparelli and have never been enamored of high fashions, I enjoyed the book. The story centers on Lily Sutter, a teacher from New York who travels to Paris at her brother's invitation in 1938. There she finds that her brother, Charlie, is involved with a married French woman, with all that the relationship entails. Most of the action takes place in Paris [big plus for me] and the timing is historically exciting for Paris, for France and for the world [another big plus].The author tells a good tale, and she researched enough that if there are historical inaccuracies, I would not be one to find them.This uncorrected book [Yes, I was able to find typos and errors] was passed to me by someone who had won it in a Goodreads giveaway.
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    What an escape. Jeanne Mackin manages to transport you from your reading chair to another life. What I admire most is how she so skillfully creates such a bond of sympathy between the reader and every character. Given the setting and surrounding events in the story, it is a full, 3-D experience of the time and the start of war, a very personal look at the emotional strife and how the past affects the present, and the future is a gamble. While I expected this story to be more focused on the caree What an escape. Jeanne Mackin manages to transport you from your reading chair to another life. What I admire most is how she so skillfully creates such a bond of sympathy between the reader and every character. Given the setting and surrounding events in the story, it is a full, 3-D experience of the time and the start of war, a very personal look at the emotional strife and how the past affects the present, and the future is a gamble. While I expected this story to be more focused on the careers of two of my fashion idols, it is much more than that. Through Mackin, we see Chanel and Schiaparelli as people, as women, as survivors. We see not only their strength and success, but their heartbreak and difficulties. There are so many scenes I wish I could sit and ask Jeanne about in person. I can just imagine the intense research necessary to create this story of two very well-known personalities. And I give Mackin a standing ovation for managing to make no one the villain. We see all sides of every character.Excellent combination of expert story telling and character development. This story stays with you.BRAVO! I recommend this highly.
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  • Deanna Sletten
    January 1, 1970
    A young artist and widow, Lily Sutter, finds herself in the center of a great rivalry between designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris, France in 1938. As she befriends both women, she learns more about them and their past as war looms around them.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 A young artist and widow, Lily Sutter, finds herself in the center of a great rivalry between designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris, France in 1938. As she befriends both women, she learns more about them and their past as war looms around them.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 story. This beautifully written story is difficult to put down and yet you do not want it to end. I highly recommend to anyone who loves historical fiction.
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  • Beth Loflin
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written. I just loved this book. The fashion, the characters, war and love. It was such a great book. Thank you Berkeley Publishers for the early release. It’s amazing
  • Kimberly Mussell
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved The Last Collection. The connection Lily has with Coco and Elsa, Charlie and Ania is the heart of this story. The characters are very well developed and the story flows beautifully.
  • Tara Weiss
    January 1, 1970
    Color theory provides context for an artist who experiences the loss of her husband and begins to restart her life and World War II threatens to destroy her rebirth. All this with the petty battle of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, two fashion icons of the era. While the use of the word frock dominates the first section of the book, clothes become less important and finding place and purpose. Slow to start, but allow the allure of Paris to bring you back to the spark of life that can restart Color theory provides context for an artist who experiences the loss of her husband and begins to restart her life and World War II threatens to destroy her rebirth. All this with the petty battle of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, two fashion icons of the era. While the use of the word frock dominates the first section of the book, clothes become less important and finding place and purpose. Slow to start, but allow the allure of Paris to bring you back to the spark of life that can restart the most difficult times.
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  • Gretchen
    January 1, 1970
    I loved The Last Collection, an historical fiction novel by Jeanne Mackin. Ms. Mackin brought the Paris fashion world of pre WWII to life. I immersed myself and felt as if I were on the streets of Paris, in the cafes, strolling along the Seine. Ms. Mackin brought the experience of the pain of WWII alive.I was unfamiliar with the Chanel/Schiaparelli feud, but Ms. Macon developed the novel as one would a painting, layer upon layer to achieve the final portrait. I have a better understanding of the I loved The Last Collection, an historical fiction novel by Jeanne Mackin. Ms. Mackin brought the Paris fashion world of pre WWII to life. I immersed myself and felt as if I were on the streets of Paris, in the cafes, strolling along the Seine. Ms. Mackin brought the experience of the pain of WWII alive.I was unfamiliar with the Chanel/Schiaparelli feud, but Ms. Macon developed the novel as one would a painting, layer upon layer to achieve the final portrait. I have a better understanding of the two fashion icons now. I was disappointed when the novel ended.I received this novel through a goodreads giveaway.
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  • Jena Henry
    January 1, 1970
    Is there such a thing as literary fanfiction? There may be now! In The Last Collection, readers get to meet and become friends with two fashion icons, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. The protagonist of this evocative story is Lily and she tells us the events of the Paris of 1938 to 1939 in the first person which gives us a feeling of immediacy and connection with all of the characters in the book, real and fictional. As the author tells us in her interesting and informative notes at the end o Is there such a thing as literary fanfiction? There may be now! In The Last Collection, readers get to meet and become friends with two fashion icons, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. The protagonist of this evocative story is Lily and she tells us the events of the Paris of 1938 to 1939 in the first person which gives us a feeling of immediacy and connection with all of the characters in the book, real and fictional. As the author tells us in her interesting and informative notes at the end of the book, “The 1930’s was a golden age of couture and it was dominated by one city: Paris, and the city was dominated by two women: Chanel and Schiaparelli. Into a world of fabulous soirées, over-the-top costume balls, and quiet moments at the bar at the Ritz comes Lily, an American teaching art in England. She has received a cryptic telegram from her brother, requesting her to meet him at 2 pm at a café in Paris. She goes and her quiet, sad life changes just as quickly as the mannequins change outfits at the couture houses. From the title of the book, to the foreshadowing in the story, we know that the Paris of 1938-1939 will not last long. Even as the characters clutch at the beauty and joy of Paris, they are also scheming- can the Nazi Von Dincklage (a real person) save Coco Chanel or his other lover who is a beautiful Jewish women? Can Schiaparelli save her daughter? And what of Lily’s own love affair? Lily’s friendship with both designers grows and so does her ability to handle life. The detail and writing in this book is exquisite. From a study of the primary colors, to the operation of the designing world, to how the museums of Paris saved their artwork, the book is absorbing and moving. Did you know that ‘copy houses’ hired ‘sketchers’ to act as spies during fashion shows? They had to be able observe, memorize and then draw the new fashions certain to sell well, when no one was looking. A good sketcher could earn as much as 400 francs from a single two-hour showing of a collection. Fascinating. The author gives us just as much insight into the creative vision and design abilities of Chanel and Schiaparelli. I would have loved to have seen photos or drawing of their creations. Imagine-a shoe hat! This book benefits from the literary style of writing and from the powerful depictions of the main characters. My only slight disappointment was that the book ended so suddenly. Highly recommend. Thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for a review copy. This is my honest review.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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 I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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 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. Lily Cooper, a recently widowed American teacher, travels to Paris to visit her brother, Charlie, and try to move on from the loss of her husband. On her first day there, Charlie insists on buying her a couture dress for her birthday--a Chanel. Lily reluctantly agrees but wants a Schiaparelli, not a Chanel. Charlie's girlfriend, Ania, one of the most beautiful and prominent women in Paris, begins wearing Schiap's designs as well, and soon much of Paris is following in her footsteps. Schiap takes an interest in Lily and offers the budding artist a job at her shop. Suddenly, Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiap and her personal war with Chanel. And as their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights, another war is looming on their doorstep and getting closer every day...This was an interesting historical fiction read that involves two designers that everyone knows by name and reputation. (okay, men may have not heard of Schiap, but I am sure that they know who Coco Chanel was.) This book is an interesting re-interpretation of the time and the women who lived in them all wrapped up in a beautiful package of stunning clothes. (See my FB review for Schiap's clothing of the times: Chanel is still Chanel 70 years later so I didn't need to post any examples there!)Knowing that the war was looming adds an extra layer to the readers' enjoyment of this book: we know what was coming and how horrible it was. I didn't know of the war between the two women and face it, women fight dirtily on a whole other level than men do!This is a great historical fiction read ... totally enjoyable, expertly researched and written and just great to read from page one to the reluctant end. More books please :-)
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    I received The Last Collection as part of a Goodreads giveaway.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 I received The Last Collection as part of a Goodreads giveaway.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 daughter. Colder, stricter, with utilitarian fashion styles and questionable political allegiances, Chanel is another source of fascination for Lily, and they two develop a relationship of sorts. But as Europe and then the United States move closer to war, Lily, both designers, and those around them will be plunged into tragedy and chaos.This was an interesting read, in that I didn't know much about the rivalry and their competing aesthetics. I think, though, it would have worked better without the character of Lily. She felt like an awkward insert and I was more interested in the Elsa/Coco dynamic than I was in Lily's acting like a go-between. I would have liked to hear more from the designers directly rather than Lily's interpretation of their words and actions. I did enjoy it, however, and Mackin does a good job of setting the scene in a Europe (and America) threatened by world war.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    I won this from Goodreads give away.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 tolife and pulled you into the story. The story takes place in pre-war Paris. Paris in on the brink ofWW2. 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 I won this from Goodreads give away.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 tolife and pulled you into the story. The story takes place in pre-war Paris. Paris in on the brink ofWW2. 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 intheir designs.We meet Lily Sutter who is an American teacher and also newly widow. She is also a artist but has lost her gift for painting since the death of her husband. Also has lost the gift for life. She receives a call from her brother wanting her to join him in Paris. Lily decides to take a leave from her teaching to join him there. Lily meets Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli while there and her life takes a turn. While there in Paris deciding will she stay or go home. Schiaparelli overs her a job. Lily takes the job, but finds herself caught between this two fashion designer in their compaction and the dangers of the Nazis taking over Paris and the looming war.If you love historical fiction and history of fashion this is the book for you
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 and Coco Chanel. Love, hate, fear, loyalty make this artfully written book a real page turner.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 and Coco Chanel. Love, hate, fear, loyalty make this artfully written book a real page turner.
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this novel and asked for a review. What more could one ask for? Jealousy, greed, betrayal, drama, love affairs, heartbreak, triumph all dressed in the most spectacular clothing of the time by the two most famous of designers. Elsa Schiaparelli, known as Schiap considered her designs her "art" in every aspect of the world. She designed for women to have fun, to be bold and adventuresome, in clothing designs that were bold, experimental, and surreal. Her use of color was extra I received an ARC of this novel and asked for a review. What more could one ask for? Jealousy, greed, betrayal, drama, love affairs, heartbreak, triumph all dressed in the most spectacular clothing of the time by the two most famous of designers. Elsa Schiaparelli, known as Schiap considered her designs her "art" in every aspect of the world. She designed for women to have fun, to be bold and adventuresome, in clothing designs that were bold, experimental, and surreal. Her use of color was extraordinary. CoCo Chanel's collections were classic, elegant, and practical. Her little braided-jacket suit was a surprise that she just substituted at the last moment. Their rivalry is legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, both in their view of color, design, and politics. The only small flaw is the young American widowed teacher living in England. She is quite bland at first read but she does get some personality as the novel progresses and at the end you like her. Ms. Mackin's writing flows, her descriptive phrases had me strolling around the village that Paris was at this time in the clothes of both designers. Truly, pre-order this book. You want to read this.
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  • RumBelle
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received through Goodreads Giveaways, from Berkley Books. Thank you to Goodreads and Berkley Books. 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 ARC received through Goodreads Giveaways, from Berkley Books. Thank you to Goodreads and Berkley Books. 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 her. Lily sees the feud between these two iconic designers from the inside, a very personal perspective. Lily was a very creative, intelligent character, and she fit into the world really well. Once World War II begins the lives of all three women take on a much more dangerous turn.The descriptions were one of the things that struck me about this novel. From the city to the clothes the writing was so vivid and lively. Mackin really brought her world, and her characters, to life. I love World War II fiction, especially if it has a somewhat unique twist, like this did with the fashion industry. A highly enjoyable novel.
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  • Danelle The Librarian
    January 1, 1970
    I love when I read a book and it makes me stop and google what I’m reading about. This historical fiction novel about the rivalry between Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli set against the backdrop of 1930’s Paris leading into World War II is one of those books.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 I love when I read a book and it makes me stop and google what I’m reading about. This historical fiction novel about the rivalry between Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli set against the backdrop of 1930’s Paris leading into World War II is one of those books.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 class Parisian society- and into a acquaintanceship with Chanel and Schiaparelli.The descriptive detail of Elsa’s design genius came to life for me. I also kept finding myself thinking “I need to go back to Paris” as i read Mackin’s lush descriptions of Paris.Fashion isn’t something that normally interests me, but Mackin's thorough research helped me to understand how Elsa used fashion as art and as protest. I loved learning more about fascinating Coco Chanel as well.I really liked this book and I am giving it 4.5 stars. Be sure to read Mackin’s notes at the end of the book as well!
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  • Sarah Wagner
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this book through a GoodReads Giveaway.*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 *I received this book through a GoodReads Giveaway.*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, from the shop assistants to the sketchers trying to replicate new trends. One of the most interesting pieces was the connections between politics and fashion, as Paris moves towards war for much of the novel and the characters view fashion - the industry and the design - as forms of patriotism and free expression. Overall, this novel made for fun reading - I loved the characters, the history, and the descriptions of the couture clothing.
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  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    Coco Chanel and her rival Elsa Schiaparelli are at war as their beloved Paris steels itself for war and German occupation. They will do just about anything to capture the couture crown as well as survive in this deadly game. With the war on their doorstep, they, as well as their friends, clients, and employees, must choose sides and that choice may determine their survival. This is an intimate look at pre-war Paris and all the glitter and the reality for some. The clothes, the parties and of cou Coco Chanel and her rival Elsa Schiaparelli are at war as their beloved Paris steels itself for war and German occupation. They will do just about anything to capture the couture crown as well as survive in this deadly game. With the war on their doorstep, they, as well as their friends, clients, and employees, must choose sides and that choice may determine their survival. This is an intimate look at pre-war Paris and all the glitter and the reality for some. The clothes, the parties and of course in its center the glamorous Ritz. Jeanne Macklin expertly blends fact with the persona of the times - false gaiety and the tough bravado of these women who were seemingly in control of their lives yet in reality always one step away from disaster. This is the perfect companion to Melanie Benjamin's MISTRESS OF THE RITZ with the crossover characters. I guarantee that after reading this you will look up their designs - breathtaking. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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