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The Collection

Posted on

The Collection

Current Status:
In Season
Martha Wash
POP, Reissues

We gave it a B+

The Collection is a valentine to Gabrielle ”Coco” Chanel, the woman behind the famously musky No. 5 fragrance and the iconic little black dress. Gioia Diliberto intertwines her fictionalized behind-the-seams portrait of the haute couture queen with that of Isabelle Varlet, a consumptive country girl/precocious needleworker. While Diliberto can be prone to florid prose — Isabelle sees her future as ”a sparkling, flower-filled meadow” — her descriptions of garments are beautifully evocative and vivid, down to the last hand-sewn stitch. Who knew there could be so much drama in the early-20th-century French fashion revolution? B+