From the acclaimed author of Stuffed comes an intimate memoir, written
with charm and panache, that juxtaposes two fascinating lives—the iconoclastic
designer Elsa Schiaparelli and the author’s own mother—to explore how a girl fashions
herself into a woman.
Audrey Morgen Volk, an upper-middle-class New Yorker, was a
great beauty and the polished hostess at her family’s garment district
restaurant. Elsa Schiaparelli—“Schiap”—the haute couture designer whose
creations shocked the world, blurred the line between fashion and art, and
believed that everything, even a button, has the potential to delight.
Audrey’s daughter Patricia read Schiap’s autobiography, Shocking
Life, at a tender age, and
was transformed by it. These two women—volatile, opinionated, and brilliant
each in her own way—offered Patricia contrasting lessons about womanhood and
personal style that allowed her to plot her own course.
Moving seamlessly between the Volks’ Manhattan and
Florida milieu and Schiap’s life in Rome and Paris (among friends such as
Dalí, Duchamp, and Picasso), Shocked weaves Audrey’s traditional notions
of domesticity with Schiaparelli’s often outrageous ideas into a marvel-filled meditation on beauty and on being a daughter, sister, and mother, while
demonstrating how a single book can change a life.
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