Review: The Last Collection

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Berkley Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

This was a really fascinating book. It combined pre-WWII and WWII historical fiction with the cut throat world of haute couture fashion. It took me a little longer to get interested in it, but once I was, I was hooked! 

Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are two very intriguing women and this book does a great job showcasing their legendary rivalry. As the author writes, “Men who persist in the belief that women are soft, sentimental creatures have never worked in the fashion industry” (pg. 134). 

The added backdrop of WWII created even more drama between the two. I liked that the book did not shy away from Coco’s affair with a famous Nazi. 

The novel utilizes a third party, Lily Sutter, to highlight the complexities of both women. Lily ends up befriending and spending time with both of them and in doing so, we are shown a more intimate view of these two remarkable women. 

Lastly, there was a really wonderful quote about fashion as a means of resistance. The book states, “Dressing well is resistance, revenge, pride, a form of control over forces trying to control us. That’s why, when taken prisoner, he first thing your enemy takes is that outer layer of your identity and independence: your clothes. That is why prisoners are put in identical uniforms. They no longer exist as individuals” (pg. 274). 

Overall, this is an enthralling portrait of two headstrong fashion designers in the years leading up to World War II. 

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Review: The Fashion Intruder

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so excited to read this because it was about a transactional lawyer who leaves the legal world for the fashion world. As a law student who loves fashion, this book was right up my alley!

The book started off a bit messy. There were a lot of little one or two paragraphs from other characters’ viewpoints which made the book a little confusing in the beginning since I had no idea who they were. But once the book and the story got going, it all became much clearer.

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I loved how the book showcased the intricacies of the fashion world and all the politics that go into it. The fashion world is definitely tough and this book showed that.

I also enjoyed the jet-setting atmosphere. The main character was always traveling somewhere glamorous. As an American, I envy how easy it is to travel from one country to another in Europe. 

There was a reference to Lana Del Rey that I just have to mention because it was just so perfect. The novel states, “Although Sofia could swear she’d put her phone on silent, she suddenly heard the loud sound of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Salvatore’” (156). That song was so perfect for the character since she’s Italian and “Salvatore” is such a dreamy song that makes you wish you were in Italy.

Overall, this was a fun look into the European fashion world. It’s has a The Devil Wears Prada vibe but set in Europe.