SHOCKED My mother, Schiaparelli, and me


SHOCKED by Patricia Volk demonstrates how a single book can change a life.   It was recommended to me by the connoisseur of all things wonderful in Paris –  Theadora  of


Shocked schiaparelli

I began reading this book with my early morning coffee.  Several hours later I reluctantly put it aside.  I had devoured half the book.  Make no mistake.  This is not a piece of fashion fluff.  It is an intimate and brutally honest memoir that juxtaposes two fascinating and very different lives.  One – the iconoclastic Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli and the other the author’s own mother Audry Volk.


Patricia Volk read Schiap’s autobiography, Shocking Life  at a tender age.  It transformed her life. These  two women –  volatile, opinionated and brilliant offered Patricia lessons that enabled her to plot her own course in life.  SHOCKED is at once richly illustrated, intimate,and a revelation  on being a daughter, sister, and mother.  SHOCKED  is written with humour, charm and panache.  It is a must read for fashion mavens.   For those of us all to familar with the fashions and cosmetics of  Fifties and Sixties it is trip into the past.

The last two sentences in SHOCKED define this exceptional book .

“Being original, being yourself to Elsa Schiaparelli was life-giving.  She made a hat out of a shoe.  Reading that at ten, I knew;  Anything is possible.”


12 thoughts on “SHOCKED My mother, Schiaparelli, and me

  1. Very exciting sounding book! Virginia, I have 2 ideas for “Art Gowns” that are made out of shoe parts! …. So you must know how wonderful those last 2 lines seem to me! – Resa

    • Resa, you could be Schiaparelli incarnated. Your creations speak a million words and all of them wonderful. Back in l955 I discovered Vogue magazine, and I entered the incredible world of high fashion. I followed Schiaparelli and adored her outrageous designs. XX Virginia

    • Absolutely Joan. You are going to be delighted by the amount of memories the book is going to evoke. Volk also writes about her grandmother so … the remember when goes waay back. V.

    • Theadora of Paris put me on to this book by Patricia Volk. I enjoyed her writing so much I have now started reading My Dear Friends, by the same writer. XX V.

  2. I love the kind of book that you have to force yourself to put down so that you don’t finish it all in one sitting. I saw an exhibit of Schiaparelli’s designs not too long ago so I’m curious to read this. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. This is not a complicated read. It gallops along and before you know it your half way through the book. I loved the photographs of the players involved. Always interesting to look back Lauren. XX Virginia

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