Read advance reader review of The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin, page 5 of 6

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The Last Collection

A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel

by Jeanne Mackin

The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin X
The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2019, 352 pages

    Aug 2020, 368 pages


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There are currently 42 member reviews
for The Last Collection
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  • Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)
    This is a wonderfully written little gem of a book. I enjoyed the historical backdrop written with more focus on Elsa Schiaparelli. She is often one of the forgotten designers of that era, and reading about her was a joy. It is a beautifully written book of Paris before the war. I'll be going back and reading some of the author's backlist.
  • Liz D. (East Falmouth, MA)
    Fashion and War
    I enjoyed The Last Collection very much. It gave me a different insight into the ominous days before the invasion of France and Paris during World War II.
    The story tells of a young artist unwitting involved in the rivalry between fashion designers Elsa Schiaprelli and Coco Chanel. Each has a different style and political leanings. Lily finds herself drawn to each for different reasons and must choose her own way. The different life perspectives make the story interesting and cause the young artist to grow very quickly from a naïve girl to a young woman who sees the situation for what it is the takeover of a world changing regime.
    The story is captivating from start to finish. A good read for historical fiction fans.
  • Bev C. (Latrobe, PA)
    The Last Collection
    "They danced together, two women no longer young but still needing admiration, two business women locked in fierce competition, two women who couldn't be more different in their aesthetics, their way of being in the world." (p 113 of The Last Collection)

    This is a thoughtfully crafted look at 2 influential fashion icons, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaprelli and their intense competition in the world of design.
    American teacher, Lily Sutter, recently widowed visits Paris in 1938 and becomes entangled, almost enchained in their rivalry.

    The backdrop timeline is historically sizzling. The tale concludes as Lily revisits Paris in 1954.

    "The message was brief.
    Come to Paris. Need to see you.
    Signed Schiap."

    This was an engaging story that gave a solid depiction of the designing prowess and controversial rivalry of Coco and Elsa.
  • Barbara C. (Fountain Hills, AZ)
    The Last Collection
    How could you not want to read a book about 2 of the most famous and outrageous fashion icons? The book was fascinating in its depiction of the rivalry between these two women. In this historical fiction novel we travel the world with Lily as she interacts with them as their rivalry grows and the world grows more dangerous as WWII looms. The depictions of Paris were right on, and places the reader in its midst. Mackin draws accurate comparisons with the changes in fashion with historical events. Of course, color is the main theme of the book, with each part representing a primary. The author's compulsion of overdoing the color theme was a little distracting and unnecessary, but certainly was in keeping with the subjects Overall The Last Collection was a delightful read and illustrated the world of fashion and the intense competition among designers.
  • Nancy D. (Raleigh, NC)
    The Last Collection
    The Last Collection is the first book I have read by Jeanne Mackin. I especially liked the intersection of three different stories; Lilly, Charlie, and Ania, the competition between Chanel and Schiaparelli and the danger and intrigue of Paris in 1938. The character development of Lilly, Charlie and Ania is very well done and allows the reader some insight into the thinking and feelings of each of them. Having never known about the rivalry between the two designers, the book gives one a peek into the apparently cut throat atmosphere of the world of couture as well as the differing political views of the time. Making Lilly an painter and her use of color to describe situations and emotions adds much enjoyment to this novel. While this was my first book by Ms. Mackin, it will not be my last. Very enjoyable and entertaining.
  • Maureen R. (Alamo, CA)
    A Flight of Fashion and Fury
    If you are a lover of Paris, of fashion, of color, of intrigue and history, then The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin opens these worlds to you. Set in the days before and during WWII, this work of historical fiction weaves the feline like rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli into the lives of Lily and her brother Charlie. Mackin is her best at bringing that Paris to a colorful and detailed reality and clearly has a well studied understanding of both designers and the differences in their art and philosophies. A good pick for any book club looking to see how even in the worst of times, art and fashion reflect who we are.
  • Liz B. (Fairview, TX)
    Colorful Lesson in History
    I enjoyed The Last Collection, a novel weaving together high fashion and politics with a love story thrown in for good measure. While it seemed contrived in a few spots, overall the book had an interesting and very readable take on the rivalry between high fashion designers in the WWII era. I found the fashion and political details more intriguing than the love story but it all came together as a cohesive read. Would be excellent for book club discussion......or a field trip to Paris!

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