Friday, August 7, 2020

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt for you as well as a guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel
Author: Jeanne Mackin
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
Print Length: 352 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
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An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this captivating novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.

Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.

When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed young American teacher, visits her brother, Charlie, in Paris, he insists on buying her a couture dress—a Chanel. Lily, however, prefers a Schiaparelli. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend soon begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and much of Paris follows in her footsteps.

Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiaparelli and Chanel’s personal war. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris.

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PRAISE FOR THE LAST COLLECTION:
"Sophisticated couture wars and looming world wars take center stage in Mackin’s latest, with a plot that buzzes with love triangles and political intrigue. A gorgeous meditation on art, fashion, and heartbreak. Stunning." --Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Masterpiece

Exquisitely melding world politics and high fashion, THE LAST COLLECTION is a smart, witty, heartfelt, and riveting look at the infamous rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli set against a gripping period in history. Mackin’s powerful novel brings these characters to life and transports the reader, juxtaposing both the gaiety and tension of Paris on the brink of war. As elegant and captivating as the designs depicted in the novel, THE LAST COLLECTION is the perfect read for both historical fiction lovers and fashion aficionados. Simply stunning.” --Chanel Cleeton, USA Today bestselling author of Next Year in Havana

A wonderful story of two intensely creative women, their vibrant joie de vivre, and backbiting competition played out against the increasingly ominous threat of the Nazi invasion of Paris. Seamless research makes every character leap to life and kept me totally engaged from beginning to end." --Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of Lighthouse Beach

A vibrant portrait of two designers cut from very different cloth, Jeanne Mackin’s THE LAST COLLECTION pits bold Coco Chanel and colorful Elsa Schiaparelli against each other in a fiery feud even as the ominous clouds of World War II darken the horizon. A captivating read!” --Stephanie Marie Thornton, author of American Princess

"As Hitler and the Nazis gather strength and the world braces for war, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel, whose politics differ as much as their couture, wage a war of their own. Lily Sutter, the woman who finds herself in the middle of their feud, has a battle of her own as she struggles to make a new start amidst extreme grief and loss. From New York to Paris, Jeanne Mackin takes the reader on an enthralling journey, complete with such vivid descriptions of the clothing, you can practically see them on the page. Beautifully rendered and meticulously researched, THE LAST COLLECTION is a must read." --Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer
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EXCERPT:
At the ball that night there were people whose faces I recognized, a blur of memory from my first evening in Paris at the Ritz, and many more people whom I didn’t recognize at all, men with military posture, women covered with jewels, men in dresses, women in tuxedos, ingénues in pastel gowns. And Charlie and Ania, beautiful Charlie and Ania, so immersed in each other’s gaze they could have been alone rather than dancing through crowded rooms.

…Coco arrived around eleven, in a diaphanous green gown that looked like fern fronds moving in a breeze when she moved. It was Coco, blending into nature, but still Coco.

Schiap arrived soon after, dressed, as she had promised, as a tree, covered in a rough brown cloth that looked like tree bark, with branches extending from her arms and the crown of her head. Several cloth and feather birds perched on her shoulders. Whimsical, humorous, always-make-it-look easy Schiap. Schiap got the louder applause when she made her entrance, and I saw Coco’s smile fade.

Who knew what was going through Coco’s mid that evening? Perhaps she had dreamed the night before of the orphanage, the father who had abandoned her and the mother who had died.

Perhaps she wasn’t thinking at all but only reacting, the way dry wood reacts when a match is put to it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jeanne Mackin ‘s latest novel, The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel takes the reader to Paris, just before World War II and the intense dangerous rivalry between the two queens of fashion. Her previous novels include A Lady of Good Family, the award winning The Beautiful American, The Sweet By and By, Dreams of Empire, The Queen’s War, and The Frenchwoman.

Her historical fictions explore the lives of strong women who change their worlds…because we know the world always needs a lot of change! She has worked all the traditional ‘writers’ jobs’ from waitressing to hotel maid, anything that would leave her a few hours each morning for writing. Most recently, she taught creative writing at the graduate level. She has traveled widely, in Europe and the Middle East and can think of no happier moment than sitting in a Paris café, drinking coffee or a Pernod, and simply watching, while scribbling in a notebook.

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GUEST POST:
Two Rivals
by Jeanne Mackin

Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, both designers and fierce rivals, had little in common except this: questionable taste in men. Much has been made, especially in movies, of the romance between Coco and Etienne Balsan, the rich heir of a textile fortune who whisked her away to his glamorous chateau. Coco was a little more honest about it in her conversations with a friend later in life: another mistress was already living there, and Coco herself ate in the kitchen with the servants. She did learn to ride, though, and to love English tweeds, riding habits, and sporting clothes. And she thought maybe, she could start a business based on her good taste in clothes, her good sense, her skills. Start small, local. And then, Paris.

Elsa Schiaparelli, born to an upper class Roman family, was a wild teenager who ran away from home and fell in love with a fake Polish count. He was good looking and charming and a complete scoundrel: soon after the marriage he ran off with the dancer Isadora Duncan, leaving Elsa broke and pregnant. She scratched a living for a while reselling antiques in New York but realized one day that her daughter was not walking or even crawling properly. She’d developed polio. Just getting by was no longer an option. But what could Elsa do? Clothing fascinated her, and even though the first gown she ever designed almost fell off her in mid-tango because it was so poorly put together, Elsa Schiaparelli decided to become a fashion designer in PARIS.

When Elsa started up her couture business in Paris, Coco, a few years older, was already established and very wealthy. But one is never too rich, too secure, to ignore the competition. And Elsa, with her playfulness, her desire to make life fun rather than merely elegant, was competition.

Elsa and Coco disagreed on everything, even on how they had first met: Coco said it was at the racetrack, where Elsa was wearing one of her ridiculous hats, perhaps the one shaped like an upside down shoe. Elsa says they met at her Parisian flat, when Elsa had decided to introduce herself to Parisian society with a dinner party. Unfortunately Schiaparelli had covered the dining room chairs with a new, untested synthetic fabric that melted in hot weather, and the evening was very hot. When her guests rose from the dinner table, the white imprint of their own buttocks had been plasticized onto their gowns and trousers. Coco did not find this amusing.

Coco referred to Elsa as “that Italian woman” when she referred to her at all. “Can she only design in black and white beige?” Elsa complained, gleefully, I imagine, of Coco.

And by the mid 1930’s, at the height of the rivalry between the two women, Time Magazine declared Elsa Schiaparelli as the designer of the times, eclipsing Coco Chanel.

A few years later, the Time cover was of Adolf Hitler, and Europe, as well as Paris and the fashion industry, would soon have to confront the reality of war.

Two days after war was declared between German and France, Coco closed her couture house, unemploying thousands of workers, rather than sell to the German invaders. Schiaparelli, despite clothing rations and the difficulty of travel, kept her couture house open, rather than unemploy her entire workforce. Which was the more patriotic decision? People are still arguing over that one.
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GIVEAWAY:
Win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card! To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

69 comments:

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

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  2. This sounds like a very good book.

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  3. thanks so much for hosting! Pleasure to be here.

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  4. i shared this one too. it looks very interesting
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  5. This is such a beautiful cover!!

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  6. Historical Fiction - I would like to try this for something different.
    And the cover is great!
    Thank you for sharing the review.

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  7. I like the cover. It has very nice artwork.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  8. The pink and red actually look okay together in this cover. I'm surprised.

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  9. I like to read books set around the World War 2 time period. This looks like a great read!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  10. I really like the book cover.

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  11. Love the cover. It drew my attention right away. Sounds like an excellent book. I can’t wait to read! Thanks for being an author and sharing your gift with the world.

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  12. thanks sounds like an interesting book

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  13. nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  14. this sounds really good, thanks for sharing

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  15. I cannot wait to read this.. Love fashion related books!

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  16. Nice cover. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Thank you for sharing the excerpt. It sounds like an interesting story.

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  18. I have been looking for a new Historical Fiction and this one sounds very good! Loved the excerpt! Added to my TBR & wish list!

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  19. I am always looking for Historical Fiction books! Sounds like an awesome story. Thank you for the opportunity to win

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  20. I really enjoy historical fiction and fashion so this one sounds great

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  21. What was the most fascinating fact you came across in your research?

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  22. Happy Saturday! This looks great!

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  23. Happy Sunday! Great cover and blurb

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  24. Would love to get the chance to read this book, sounds wonderful!
    @tisonlyme143

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  25. Happy Wednesday! this looks great

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  26. Happy Thursday! This looks so good!

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  27. This looks like a good story and I love the cover art!

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  28. Happy Saturday! This is fantastic

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  29. Sounds like a great book! Love the excerpt.

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  30. Hope your Monday is amazing. Great blurb

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  31. Happy Tuesday. This looks great!!

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  32. I just finished reading the Paris library so this would fit into my theme really well! The cover is breathtakingly beautiful!

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  33. Awesome cover! Thanks for sharing!

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  34. looks like a fun one

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  35. Happy Wed! Thank you! Great blurb

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  36. Thank you for the chance. Great blurb and cover

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  37. I am so excited to read this book. I simply love the cover!

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  38. Beautiful cover, I am looking forward to reading this.

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  39. The book cover looks really nice and this sounds like a great read.

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  40. Love the white background. Makes the red stand out!😻

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