Shocking Life: The Autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli
Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) was one of the leading fashion designers of the 1920s and 1930s with a flair for the unusual. The first to use shoulder pads, animal print and the inventor of shocking pink, Schiaparelli collaborated with artists including Jean Cocteau, Alberto Giacometti and Salvador Dali, to create extraordinary garments such as the Dali Lobster Dress.
Schiaparelli had an affluent clientele, from Katherine Hepburn to Marlene Dietrich, who embraced her outrageous but elegant designs. She designed aviator Amy Johnson’s wardrobe for her solo flight to Cape Town in 1936, the culottes for tennis champion Lily d’Alvarez that outraged the lawn tennis establishment, and her clothes appeared in more than 30 films including Every Day’s a Holiday with Mae West and Moulin Rouge. Schiaparelli’s fascinating autobiography charts her rise from resident of a rat-infested apartment to designer to the stars.
From A to Biba: The Autobiography of Barbara Hulanicki
Barbara Hulanicki tells the story of the rise and fall of the tiny, energetic boutique that grew into a vast emporium and epitomised Swinging London. The Biba store was to become an icon of hip ‘60s and ‘70s London and a hangout for artists, film stars and rock musicians, including the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot and Marianne Faithful. But in the early 1970s, Hulanicki and her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon lost control after a series of bitter boardroom struggles and for Barbara, Biba was lost. This lively autobiography evokes the adventurous spirit of the 1960s and describes an extraordinary life with clarity and wit.
Quant by Quant: The Autobiography of Mary Quant
Originally published in 1966, Quant by Quant is the hugely entertaining story of Mary Quant’s early career and life with husband and business partner Alexander Plunket Greene. After opening the groundbreaking Bazaar boutique on the King’s Road in 1955, Quant soared to international fame with her brand of witty fashion style which fitted perfectly with modern life about town. Just as her signature styles have become synonymous with the Pop culture of the Swinging Sixties, her joyful, evocative autobiography captures the world in which she found inspiration - and which she ultimately helped to define and change.