Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography by Meryle Secrest
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. ;)