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The Collection

The Collection Isabelle Varlet charming and naive comes from a long line of seamstresses in a small town in France A series of unfortunate events and her prodigious sartorial talent carry her to Paris which in th

  • Title: The Collection
  • Author: Gioia Diliberto
  • ISBN: 9780743280655
  • Page: 180
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Isabelle Varlet, charming and naive, comes from a long line of seamstresses in a small town in France A series of unfortunate events and her prodigious sartorial talent carry her to Paris, which in the wake of World War I is electric with new life When Isabelle takes a job in the atelier of Coco Chanel, the rising star of haute couture, she finds herself in the heart ofIsabelle Varlet, charming and naive, comes from a long line of seamstresses in a small town in France A series of unfortunate events and her prodigious sartorial talent carry her to Paris, which in the wake of World War I is electric with new life When Isabelle takes a job in the atelier of Coco Chanel, the rising star of haute couture, she finds herself in the heart of a glamorous and ruthless world filled with arrogant designers, handsome men, beautiful women, and fashion thieves who prowl Paris hoping to steal designs before they hit the runway.In Chanel s workshop, Isabelle thrives on the time honored techniques of couture the pains taking hand stitches, the perfect fall of fabric and the sleek, pared down lines of Mademoiselle s revolutionary style As Isabelle brings an exquisite dress to life for the fall collection from its embryonic origins in humble muslin to its finished form in the finest silk she navigates the tempestuous moods of Chanel, the cutthroat antics of her fellow workers, and her own search for love.Just as she did in her critically acclaimed novel I Am Madame X, Gioia Diliberto brings a rich historical moment to life through her vivid and compelling storytelling Her penetrating research and imagination are gracefully woven together in this poignant story filled with larger than life characters embroiled in scandalous tales, passionate love affairs, and extraordinary careers The Collection is an exuberantly entertaining read.

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    1 thought on “The Collection

    1. As a seamstress this book SPOKE to me! The Collection is a lovely story about a young women who finds herself, love (of couture) and life through her time in Paris in the early 1900's as a couture/master seamstress with the best houses in Paris (e.g Chanel). The book was one of those works that I just didn't want to end because I was so a part of her world (or least fantasize about being a part of that high fashion and expert couture world!). A must read for the sewists in the world!

    2. This was a wonderful story. If you are fan of fashion and the couture industry this fictional account of what it "might" have been like to work for Coco Chanel in the earliest days of her house should interest you.Small-town girl Isabelle Varlet comes to Paris with an ability to sew, a letter of introduction to Gabrielle Chanel, and big dreams but not much else. She's lucky enough to be hired on as a seamstress, and so begins a whirlwind of a career working for arguably the most famous clothing [...]

    3. This is the story of a young woman working in the haute couture industry in Paris shortly after the first world war. It's rather interesting to read the account of how Coco Chanel came up with her collection. And that's the issue with the book for me. Isabelle, in theory the main character, is really just being used as a device so that the author can talk about Chanel. She's really the main character and the book pales a bit when Chanel fades into the background.

    4. Isabelle Varlet, a sweet and gifted seamstress moves to Paris after WW I. She is recovering from the deaths of her fiancee and cherished family members. The author is a good storyteller and I eagerly read about all the intriques in the world of high fashion. I learned of the difficulty and the excitement of working for the tempestuous Coco Chanel and other arrogant designers. The author's research illuminated this period in history for me while providing a story I quickly devoured.

    5. 3.5 stars. Really was a lovely book. I was impressed with the amount of research put into this story. A couple of years ago, my boyfriend at the time took me to Paris. And one of the first places I drug him to was Rue Cambon. I had to see the Chanel storefront. And standing in front of it, I was awed at the woman who created the legend. My boyfriend kept urging me to go inside but I wouldn't. I was scared it wouldn't live up to my ideas, my expectations of what I thought those iconic C's stood f [...]

    6. Love this book! I am a big fan of the history of costume so this story was fun to read! Will look for other books by this author.

    7. This had so much potential but it fell flat for me. The plot became a bit boring and a little dragged out. It still gave some interesting insight into what couture was like during that time.

    8. Das kleine Schwarze ist ein Roman von der Autorin Gioia Diliberto. Es ist am 01. Mai 2010 als Taschenbuch im Knaur Verlag erschienen.InhaltDas kleine Schwarze spielt in den 20er Jahren in der Hauptstadt Frankreichs, nämlich Paris. Die junge Isabelle Varlet leidet schon seit Jahren an der Schwindsucht und hat während ihrer Krankheit das Nähen von ihrer Großmutter gelernt. Nun bekommt sie eine Stelle als Schneiderin in Paris in einem Atelier der Coco Chanel, die gerade zu einer Berühmtheit au [...]

    9. 288 pages. Donated 2010 JanuaryIsabelle takes a job in the atalier of Coco Chanel and finds herself in the heart of the glamorous and ruthless fashion world.Isabelle Varlet, charming and naïve, comes from a long line of seamstresses in a small town in France. A series of unfortunate events and her prodigious sartorial talent carry her to Paris, which in the wake of World War I is electric with new life. When Isabelle takes a job in the atelier of Coco Chanel, the rising star of haute couture, s [...]

    10. The story of a talented seamstress, who rises in ranks working for Coco Chanel is written with a fun creative language. The main character at the age of 10 creates her first outfit, after creating many for her dolls. It was summed up as being created ‘when she must have had a nightmare.’ Nevertheless, at the age of 17 she becomes an apprentice to a woman, who once worked for Coco Chanel. With the woman’s encouragement and letter of recommendation, the young woman moves to Paris.The descrip [...]

    11. Its been some years since I saw the movie "Coco Avant Chanel", but that is what I thought of when reading this book.It was wonderful to delve into a seamstress' lifeI wish I could make clothes like Isabelle and the other women in the book do. I think that Chanel was life-changing to many women during the years right after WWI. She changed the style to being more simple and elegant and ran with it.I liked her guys, her brazenness, and her clothes. Isabelle to mee's a good character but I wish she [...]

    12. I have read worse but I have also read better. I did not find this novel very remarkable, due to a rather weak leading woman. Seamstress Isabelle Varlet, the heroine of the book takes us thru the days of early fashion and introduces us to Coco Channel. The novel gives tremendous insight into the drama and workings of the fashion industry, but the heroine is rather ordinary and in between the fashion and clothes details is mundane, boring excerpts from her mundane, boring life. I prefer stronger [...]

    13. The subject matter of this historical novel rescues it from being ordinary. It is a glimpse into the world of haute couture through the eyes of a principal seamstress for Coco Chanel. The cut-throat competition and business intrigues were interesting but predictable. It is a very quick read because parts of it almost beg you to skim over them. The Collection would be a life-saver on an airplane or similar environment where you required distraction without investing too much intellectual capital. [...]

    14. This book is for anyone who loves fashion. It follows a young seamstress in post-WWI Paris who gets a job working for Chanel. The detail is amazing and it had me longing for a glimpse of the understated elegance that Chanel brought to the world. I also enjoyed hearing about the other couture designers of the time and their methods. It also showed that not much has changed in the fashion world and that designers are still as egotistical as they were back then (think The Devil Wears Prada but wors [...]

    15. I loved this book. As a fashion historian, reading historical fiction about what life was like working in Paris for designers is fascinating. This book had been on my "to-read" list for years, and I'm so glad I finally got around to it. If you enjoy fashion, French couture and history, you should also enjoy this.

    16. Well, at least I *read* a book about something other than pregnancy and childbirth this winter! Of course, this novel is about sewing, so one could say I was cheating and just fantasizing about baby projects as I read Diliberto's book is silly and rather flat, but I enjoyed the technical details and the main character's enthusiasm for her craft (she would say, art). Beach read!

    17. I was able to finish at work in one week and it was nice to read during breaks. The bad thing about the book is I was waiting for something to happen. Instead I felt like I was reading a biography of a persons life, like Diane Von Furstenberg. At the end when the book starts to get good it ends! I gave it three stars.

    18. I enjoyed this book. I loved reading about all of the different designers and all of the gorgeous dresses! I had a problem with the main character. I thought she was flat and boring. The author tried to portray her as a naive girl but sometimes she came across as quite rude. This is still a great book if your interested in fashion!

    19. The book was pretty good until the end. She got to a very important part of the story and then copped out by skipping to an epilogue forty years later rather than actually telling the rest of the story. So I ended up being disappointed.

    20. Such a cool book; it's the story of a seamstress to Coco Chanel at the beginning of her empire (historical fiction). It tells about the dressmaking, the copies and Paris/France at the time. This book is not trite because of the subject matter; very well done and puts a voice to Chanel.

    21. I enjoyed this gentle book. There was not much oomph to it or really much action at all, but that was ok with me. I loved learning about the world of couture in the early 1900s. I only wish the author would have included a picture of "Angeline"!

    22. Read this because I'm hosting the event at Women and CHildren First. Not my usual kind of book. Kind of like Devil Wears Prada set in Chanel's atelier. Good for if you like chick lit with a historical bent.

    23. It was good, but nothing amazing. It was fun to just speculate what it would be like to be a seamstress, especially for my all time favorite designer. It was a great quick read, I recommend it for anyone who loves fashion and this time period.

    24. I enjoyed this authors previous book "I am Madame X" so I really wanted to read "The Collection". Only having a moderate interest in fashion, I found this interesting but not captivating. If I was a fashion junkie I think I would have really liked it.

    25. The story was well told. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of clothes that were part of the story. Although having worked with clothes as a dresser for live theater, I felt more connected to the design process through this book.

    26. What an amazing book to complete my 2015 reading challenge with. It's been so long since I've gotten to add a new book to my "Favourites" shelf. Also, It makes me want to wear pretty dresses.

    27. quick and entertaining. a fictional look at what it was like to help Coco Chanel put out her collection in 1919 Paris. Thanks, Mom. I'll send it back soon ;)

    28. A fun book but nothing ground breaking. I did spend most of the book wishing I had pictures of Chanel clothing from just after WWI.

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