I was intrigued.
I am a Colour & Image Consultant: so a story about fashion was appealing. I am also curious. Anything that tells me the story behind events as well as the lives and emotions of people involved in them will keep me engrossed.
I took a punt. The book was a Christmas present. Well, I chose it. My husband paid for it.
Let me state here that it is not historical fact. As the author, Nicole says in the Acknowledgment, ‘it is a work of historical fiction based on facts’.
It is the story of how the pink suit that Jackie Kennedy was wearing the day JFK was shot, came into being. It is fashion with its intrigues and deceptions and all the people who played a part in producing one perfectly photogenic item of clothing.
The main character, Kate, is a back-room garment worker at Chez Ninon in New York. The story covers the people of her neighbourhood, Inwood; her co-workers; her friend, the butcher Patrick and her job. ‘Fashion is the art of the possible’ and Kate loves the challenge of making The Wife’s (Jackie’s) clothes. She loves seeing her wearing them and she loves making replicas for her sister and herself.
I was taken in by the last paragraph of the synopsis on the back cover which said that Kate’s fragile world threatens to rip apart after pictures of the pink suit splattered with blood are beamed all over the world. From this I expected the story would have more on the after-effects of that day. But it doesn’t. Kate’s world changes dramatically before that day. The story ends with some sadness, some hope and some reminders of happier days.
I liked it and would recommend it as an interesting, thoughtful read. Nicole set out to write a fictional, affectionate memory of wonderful trail-blazing women and I believe that she succeeded.
PS – The suit was not actually pink. Coco Chanel had named the colour – raspberry.
PPS – From the book, here is a quote that I loved.
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