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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 Jeanne Mackin (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A fascinating insight into a war of passion and ambition set amid the looming threat of the Nazi invasion of Paris. With elegant, vibrant writing, Mackin cleverly captures the infamous rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in a novel that historical fiction fans will savor.” (Hazel Gaynor, New York Times best-selling author of The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter)
 

"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)

The Last Collection brings to center stage the fascinating life of Elsa Schiaparelli in a story that is as elegantly constructed as the clothes she designed. The combination of Schiap’s fierce rivalry with Coco Chanel and the inevitable war makes for a palpable tension, and Jeanne Mackin ultimately delivers an ending that is beautiful, heartbreaking, and perfect in every way.” (Michelle Gable, New York Times best-selling author of A Paris Apartment)

What listeners say about The Last Collection

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Leslie Gail Mnich
  • 30-12-19

BORING!!!!!

This book is the most dreary boring story!! The voice of the narrator is AWEFUL!! I do not recommend this Book at All! Very disappointing!!

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  • Pat Selkirk
  • 30-09-19

I loved this book!

I am going to recommend this wonderful historical fiction to my bookclub. I was reading it while visiting Paris and loved seeing and knowing all the locations in the book...had champagne at the Ritz and visited Rue Cambon 31...it is a must read in my book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • LeAnn
  • 13-01-21

Horrible

Where have all the great writers gone? I can’t believe that with all of the amazing stories sitting on their desks that publishers have to settle for this trash.
Ok, ok, ok we get it ...the main character is an art teacher but must you describe everything with colors and which famous painters used them? It sounds like sad name-dropping.
The writing is so elementary that it’s definitely like a first book that was passed through because of a favor due by the publisher. It makes the women who were the most famous in fashion seem like children who are undeveloped characters—definitely not a historical fiction novel of any worth.

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  • Cynthia Stant
  • 01-02-20

Great mix of history and fiction

A love story mixed with history and fashion. Great story which I didn’t want it to end.

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  • RueRue
  • 19-11-19

I should have enjoyed it....

A story about fashion, and the rivalry between two legendary designers ? Sounded like my kind of book, so, what happened ? I just couldn't connect with or care about any of the characters. Everything about this -the characters, the sluggish plotting - felt flat. I can't blame the narrator, she was good. I just felt that the author couldn't create compelling characters to add life to the story.

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  • Sfbelle
  • 04-10-19

Fashionably wonderful

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well-drawn and the narration flawless. Ah, to have known Schiaperelli AND Chanel. One could only wish. Highly recommend.

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  • L. Larmour
  • 15-09-19

Lush descriptions, full characters

I love the way Jeanne Mackin writes: you can see and feel the fabrics and fashions she describes, you can hear the people speaking. Descriptions and metaphors are so rich. Mackin’s dialogue sounds so real and immediate. Her lush words carry along the plot and bring Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli right before you.