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One Enchanted Evening by Charlotte Smith

by Catherine Van Bergen (follow)
Non fiction (105)      Fashion (13)      History (12)     

When Charlotte Smith inherited her godmother’s expansive vintage clothing collection, she never could have imagined that it would shape her future career.

Doris Darnell, an American Quaker with a passion for couture and vintage fashions, gifted her collection of over 4000 dresses and outfits to her goddaughter, who has since travelled the world exhibiting the pieces. As more people heard about the appropriately named Darnell Collection, a further few thousand items were added, as either gifts from interested parties or purchases by Charlotte herself, bringing the total figure of clothing items to over 9000 unique pieces.

Featuring clothing from fashion houses including Chanel, Dior, Prada, and Vivienne Westwood, to smaller and lesser-known designers, the collection is a historical treasure trove for fashionistas all over the world.

What’s more, every piece has its own story, meticulously recorded in one of four large books by Darnell herself. Recorded for posterity, these stories tell all about the dresses and the women who wore them. They explain the clothing, the event for which it was purchased or made, and the feelings of the woman who wore it for that enchanted evening (or day, in some cases). These glimpses into the lives of the women who wore these fashionable designs add further to an already extraordinary collection.

This book is a tribute to just some of the evening gowns, minidresses and creations that can be found within The Darnell Collection. Beautifully drawn by renowned fashion illustrator Grant Cowan, each dress is brought to life in exquisite detail, with its accompanying story on the opposing page.

Anybody with an interest in fashion, or in the history of clothing and designers, will be delighted with the beauty contained in this gorgeous little book.

Rating: 4/5
Published: October 2017

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