Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review - "A Passion for Fashion" by Nick Verreos (#15 - 2016)

Disclosure: I received a .pdf copy of this book from the publisher for review. I only accept copies of books for review that look like something I would normally buy or check out at library.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I honestly didn't really know what to expect when I was approached to review this book.  I remembered Nick from Project Runway season 2 and I liked him a lot (I also remembered he was one of Lauren Conrad's instructors at FIDM during The Hills - yes, I do remember the most random things).  I assumed this was more about his journey into fashion, etc.  While that was partially true, most of this book was a sort of instruction manual about how to get into the industry.  Which was really a pleasant surprise.  I mean, I wish I had had this book when I was in my fashion classes during my college years.  He talks about how to create a croquis, technically draw garments (complete with detailed illustrations), and various portfolio guidelines (which as a textile designer I can totally use, thanks Nick!).  Honestly, you can tell he's a really good teacher, I learned so much.  Now my fashion instruction was limited and mainly concentrated on very technical/manufacturing courses, so I didn't do any illustration or draping, etc.  But I will say he stressed the importance of patternmaking and patternmakers.  This is 100% true.  Now I sucked at patternmaking, but it is well known in the industry that if you are a good patternmaker you can pretty much write your own check.  And he really stresses that sometimes you may not have the "glamorous" job, but you can learn the most from something that you never thought you would be doing.  He gives practical, useful and spot on advice for getting your foot in the door and beyond.  I would encourage anyone who is interested in a career in fashion (or if you know of anyone interested in fashion) to pick this book up pronto!  It's one of the best blueprints for getting on a path to a job in the fashion industry I've ever read!  I hope he writes another book on the business side, he touches on it here, but I think he would be ideal to write a "fashion business" book.

In the meantime, please check out his website and excellent YouTube channel with great instructional videos (that I've been watching).  Here he is talking about the book:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Book Review - "After You" by Jojo Moyes (#14 - 2016)

After You by Jojo Moyes

This is the sequel to Me Before You (my review here) it picks up about 18 months after the events of the first book occur. Louisa is lost and depressed and just all around stuck.  I'm not going to say too much so I don't spoil anything, but I will say that she meets a few people that completely turn her life upside down and hopefully can help her move forward.  Okay, I'm going to say that this was a somewhat underwhelming sequel.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.  I love Louisa but I guess I wanted a bit of a different story.  Though part of me understands why she wrote the story the way she did.  If you loved the first book, you will not love this one as much, but it's completely up to you if you want to pick it up.  You won't miss out if you don't read it and just want to leave the story/characters the way they were in Me Before You.  Proceed at your own risk.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review - "Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography" by Meryle Secrest (#13 - 2016)

This was a very comprehensive and extremely interesting look into the life of famed Couturier Elsa Schiaparelli.  From her somewhat isolated childhood in Rome, a failed first marriage to a conman, to her rise as a star in the Paris fashion scene.  She was tough, she was resourceful, she befriended artists and other interesting people who inspired her work.  Unfortunately, she often gets lost in the Dior/Chanel cult of personalities, but trust me her work was so important and her creativity should not be overlooked.  Her fabric innovations, the way she designed pieces to be worn in different ways, zippers and statement buttons and lots of embellishment, her designs were distinct and lots of fun.  The book has lots of pictures which really help (especially if you are unfamiliar with her work).  She wasn't an open book and it was really hard to get a firm handle on exactly who she was.  However, if you are interested in fashion history at all pick this up!

A couple of side notes, Marisa Berenson (actress/model) and Berry Berenson (photographer who was married to actor Anthony Perkins and who sadly died on 9/11) are her granddaughters.  Also, here is the link to the Christie's 2014 sale that Marisa had of her grandmother's belongings.  The label does live on, showing Couture collections now designed by Bertrand Guyon.  I absolutely LOVE what he is doing there, it's modern and still pays tribute to the legend.  One more thing, I really wish they would have made dust jacket's background her signature Schiap "shocking" pink instead of the blush pink. ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Review - "Wake Up Happy" by Michael Strahan (#12 - 2016)

Wake Up Happy by Michael Strahan

I picked up this book because I like Michael Strahan a lot and wanted to learn more about him.  This was a short book, easy to read but not lacking in information or stories.  He talks about his childhood on an Army base in Germany and how inspiring his parents are to him.  He covered how he was determined to play football in high school in the hope of getting a college scholarship.  To do that he had to leave his family in Germany and come to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Houston, Texas.  Plus he had played football only just a little bit, so it was a huge learning curve for him.  It taught him focus and determination and also to not give up.  I really like how he was honest in his "failures" and how he learned from them and how he took those lessons and built upon them to better himself.  He wasn't worried about not succeeding, he was more worried about not trying.  I like that a lot!  Anyway, I liked the book a lot for an easy, breezy and very positive and inspiring read!
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