Remember a while back when I mentioned The Collection, a fictional tale of a seamstress in Chanel's atelier? Well, since then I received a copy of the book from Simon & Schuster in exchange for a review. Given the number of other reviews that have been popping up on blogs recently, I'd say I'm not the only one who was approached!
Well I can honestly say that my daily bus commute has been pure pleasure, thanks to this novel.
You may already be familiar with the general storyline: Isabelle is a provincial girl with a natural passion for sewing, fitting, and apparel design. Thanks to a stroke of luck, she ends up working on rue Cambon in Gabrielle Chanel's atelier. The story that ensues could easily be turned into a movie, it includes elements of deception, egoism, passion, yearning, and jealousy.
While reading this novel I learned about:
- The organization & promotion of staff in the couture workrooms
- Garment development - from idea, to toile, to final masterpiece - in a couture house
- Fashion publicity of the time, which largely depended on celebrities wearing gowns to various parties and events, with the goal of having photographs of the garments showing up in newspapers (much like today's Academy Awards, etc)
- Style theft - cheap copies of unique, desirable garments - was as much of a problem then as now
Oh, and I will never look at a vintage Vogue Paris Original pattern by Jean Patou the same again..!
Bottom line: Reading this book is the next best thing to actually sewing.
And now for the giveaway!
Simon & Schuster was so generous in providing me a copy of this book, I want to pass along that love by giving it to one of my readers! Here are the details:
If you'd like a chance to win this book, leave a comment for me under this post anytime between now and Sunday, October 21 at 8:00 pm (20:00) PST (US west coast).
I will assign each entrant a sequential number based on the order in which the comments are received, i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc. On Sunday evening, I will use the random number generator to choose a number/winner. I'll announce who the lucky person is that evening.
International readers are welcome to participate! I'll gladly ship the book anywhere in the world.
(There are some faint marks on the outside of the book due to it being shuffled all over the city in my bag for 2 weeks. However, the dust jacket has been sitting on my nightstand the whole time and is in pristine condition...)