How much will a young Parisian seamstress sacrifice to make her mark in the male-dominated world of 1940s New York fashion?
1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother's work - one of the world's leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother's past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets - and the sacrifices made for love.
Crossing generations, society's boundaries and international turmoil, The Paris Seamstress is the beguiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.
Natasha Lester worked as a marketing executive for cosmetic company L'Oreal, managing the Maybelline brand, before returning to university to study creative writing. She completed a Master of Creative Arts as well as her first novel, What Is Left Over, After, which won the T.A.G. Hungerford Award for Fiction. Her second novel, If I Should Lose You, was published in 2012, followed by A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald in 2016 and Her Mother's Secret in 2017. The Age described Natasha as "a remarkable Australian talent" and her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals.
The Paris Seamstress
Author: Natasha Lester
Review: An engaging journey of an aspiring fashion designer Estelle who escapes the war in Europe for the greener pastures of America in the 1940s. Natasha Lester ability to connect with the characters is refreshing.
As part of her extensive research for the book, Natasha travelled widely across Paris and New York, visiting many places including:
- A 200-year-old atelier where they make the silk flowers for couture dresses, just as Estella does in the book.
- The Marais district in Paris
- A private tour of the historical Garment District, as well as one of Gramercy Park, which is another key location in the book.
- Ready to wear factories in New York to museums with Pan Am flying boats
- Spending some time in the archives at the New School, where they hold a collection of Claire McCardell's fashion designs and sketches from the 1940s
Natasha's star is on the rise, having just sold rights to the US and UK. But don't just take my word for it, the Herald Sun called her 'a welcome addition to the historical fiction market,' emphasizing her 'engaging writing style and ability to create characters that connect with readers'.
Natasha worked as a marketing executive for cosmetic company L'Oréal, managing the Maybelline brand, before returning to university to study creative writing. She completed a Master of Creative Arts as well as her first novel, What Is Left Over, After, which won the T.A.G. Hungerford Award for Fiction. The Age described Natasha as "a remarkable Australian talent" and her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals. In her spare time Natasha loves to teach writing, is a sought after public speaker and can often be found playing dress-ups with her three children.