The Beautiful Fall, Fashion Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970’s Paris

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I am a reader.  Mostly read novels but once in a while I read a biography.  It just takes me longer to get through it.  Last night, I finally finished The Beautiful Fall by Alice Drake.

If you love fashion, it is absolutely worth the read.  The book is really about YSL and Karl Lagerfeld and the last 50 years of Haute Couture and the change into ready-to-wear and licensing.  Drake really gives you a feel of each decade and how the business changed.  The shifting of the guard at Dior when YSL took over at the mere at of 22.  The world of Paris in the 50’s, still living with the effects of WWII, the thrill of the 60’s, the drugs of the 70’s and the 80’s.  All of the side players, Pierre Berge who essentially kept Yves going and all of the muses. 

The impact that both of these men made on the fashion world is unparalleled.  Their rivalry is interesting.  YSL, to me, was the true designer where as Lagerfeld, is a merchant with true gut sense of trends and a tap on each cultural landscape.  His transforming of Chanel is a perfect example. 

Reading this book while staying in Paris was the call.  Walking through the vintage shops, which are fantastic here, and seeing all the vintage Chanel, YSL, Chloe, Claude Montana, etc. puts a very different appreciation for the times these clothes were made vs an appreciation for the details. 

I didn’t find the book to flow easily but plowed through because the information that she has put together makes the book a worthy read. 

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