My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me
From the acclaimed author of Stuffed comes an intimate memoir, writtenwith charm and panache, that juxtaposes two fascinating lives—the iconoclasticdesigner Elsa Schiaparelli and the author’s own mother—to explore how a girl fashionsherself into a woman.
Audrey Morgen Volk, an upper-middle-class New Yorker, was agreat beauty and the polished hostess at her family’s garment districtrestaurant. Elsa Schiaparelli—“Schiap”—the haute couture designer whosecreations shocked the world, blurred the line between fashion and art, andbelieved that everything, even a button, has the potential to delight.
Audrey’s daughter Patricia read Schiap’s autobiography, ShockingLife, at a tender age, andwas transformed by it. These two women—volatile, opinionated, and brillianteach in her own way—offered Patricia contrasting lessons about womanhood andpersonal style that allowed her to plot her own course.
Moving seamlessly between the Volks’ Manhattan andFlorida milieu and Schiap’s life in Rome and Paris (among friends such asDalí, Duchamp, and Picasso), Shocked weaves Audrey’s traditional notionsof domesticity with Schiaparelli’s often outrageous ideas into a marvel-filled meditation on beauty and on being a daughter, sister, and mother, whiledemonstrating how a single book can change a life.