The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin
An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this vivid 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 American teacher, travels to Paris to visit her brother, Charlie, he insists on buying her a couture dress for her birthday—a Chanel. Lily reluctantly agrees but wants a Schiaparelli, not a Chanel. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and soon much of Paris is following in her footsteps.
Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and suddenly, 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.