Deuxmoi. Anon Pls. William Morrow, 2022. 287 pp. SBN 978-0063257801 $19.59
In the vein of The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries, art imitates life in a tell-all expose style of what it’s really like to work in a social media driven fashion industry. Cricket Lopez just wants a promotion, but her evil, demanding boss won’t relent, and after a potential client pushed by Cricket resells some gifted merch instead of wearing and promoting it, it seems like hell will freeze over before she gets promoted. In a drunken fit, she posts about the snafu on her anonymous fashion account that’s been gathering dust, inviting other people to send their tidbits about celebrities: celebrity sighting, famous people they’re just like us, and especially, famous people behaving badly. It goes viral, her boss threatens to fire anyone associated with the account, and Cricket cowers but powers on. Soon, celebrities are responding to correct misunderstandings and fight for their good names, and everyone wants to know who the brains behind the anonymous tipline account is. As on the popular blind item account, no attribution of authorship is given.
Either I’m really out of touch or all celebrities were fabricated. There was lots of product name dropping, butI didn’t even bother to look up Chelsea boots and jeans; it was disappointing that the generally writers could not be bothered to describe articles of clothing by more than a brand name. I powered through, partially hooked by a love interest who wants a scoop and offers advice and phone sex.
I read a digital ebook edition of Anon Pls through my local public library via OverDrive.
Yang, Kelly. Private Label. Katherine Tegen Books, 2022. ISBN 978-0062941107 416 pp. $17.99
Serene, the daughter of a fashion mogul and intern at her mother’s fashion house, is being groomed to take over the business, much to the displeasure of her mother’s senior designers. Lily Lu has terminal pancreatic cancer, and it’s always been her and har daughter against the world, and the white-bred California suburb where they live.
Lian is a new immigrant from China who faces micro-aggressions and outright bullying at their high school. He starts an afterschool club for students interested in learning Chinese, and Serene joins in the hopes it can aid her in connecting with her estranged father. Although Serene has a boyfriend, she begins to fall for Lian, who becomes her rock when things are rapidly going south.
Both Serene and Lian are coping with what their mothers want for them–and the gap between that, and what they want for themselves. Racism and sexism meld with fashion and Chinese culture to produce a novel with a lot of depth. The alternating point of views work well; the teen voices are authentic and unique. The cover art is lovely. The cancer details are all too real. This is a well-written and timely tale about the immigrant experience that will both tug at your heartstrings and have you cheering for the characters.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #PrivateLabel via #NetGalley.
Bird, Eugenie, illus. by David Dowton. Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand. Candlewick, 2002. ISBN 978-0763614133. 130 pp. $40.00
The fashion-magazine size and layout of this weighty volume is no mistake; Fairie-ality is an imaginative presentation of haute couture for fey folk. Based on the premise that faeries have a season, like the tony upper class, and thus require costumes for spring balls and summer swim parties, Bird and Dowton present a photo essay of tiny designer clothing concocted from natural objects: flowers, leaves, acorn caps, feathers and more.
Gowns take shape with peacock feathers, grass blades and petal skirts, paired with birchbark stilletos. Snakeskin adds pattern and texture to basic-cut undergarments. Seeds and shells add embellishment. Pheasant feathers reveal their glorious tones in a pullout section on cotillion collections. Not just for ladies, there are coordinating outfits for men as wel, including a sleek black crow feather jacket adorned with periwinkle shell buttons. There is even a ready to wear section, with pages cut into three horizontal strips for mixing and matching of tops, bottoms, and stylish caps. The pieces de resistance are outfits for a royal family, and the wedding party garments, including a mother of the bride gown augmented with fluffy feathers, a top hat and peacock lined coat for the groom, and a gossamer white lily and feather gown for the bride.
In addition to the crisp, closeup, full-color photography, designer’s sketches and watercolors accompanying many of the final products. The font matches each collection, by turns formal, hip or romantic. The textures are so clear the urge to run one’s fingers over the pages is irresistable. The accompanying text could be straight out of the pages of Vogue. The captions are lush and descriptive, and narrative accompanies each section, outlining the events appropriate for each collection, or whom each piece might be worn by. Readers will spend hours pouring over the pages and marveling at the tiny details. Although not a must have, the excellence in execution and high re-readability rate a high recommended for most browsing collections.
Review by Beth Gallaway