A Dress of Violet Taffeta [Book Review] #Fashion #Couture

July 11, 2022

A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen

A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tess Arlen (book cover resting beside the bodice of a Lucile gown)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Biographical Historical Fiction, Couture Fashion, England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Welcome to my stop on the Austen Prose PR Book Tour. Thanks #Netgalley @BerkleyPub #AustenProsePR @AustenProse for an e ARC of #ADressOfVioletTaffeta by @TessaArlen upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A Dress of Violet Taffeta Blog Tour Graphic with a brief blurb and blog tour dates

Lady Duff Gordon, Lucy, is forced to support herself and her young daughter after being abandoned by her alcoholic husband. Interested in fashion and dress design from a young age (making dresses for her dolls), Lucy strikes out to be a couture fashion designer, a field few women had tried. Facing stiff competition from men, Lucy starts with a lovely piece of violet taffeta and builds her couture brand (Lucile Ltd) dress by dress. An ambitious woman, she persists through all the obstacles thrown at her, wins a messy public divorce, produces “scandalous” lingerie to complement her new designs, introduces runway models, and survives the sinking of the Titanic.

Headshot of Lucille wearing a wide brimmed hat tied under her chin

Evening dress by Lucille

My Thoughts:

From designing doll dresses as a child to fashion couture icon….

Biographical Historical Fictio: I enjoy stories about real people and Lucy is a fascinating “self-made” woman and fashion icon. Some readers may find her less than likable but I think she needed to be persistent, tenacious, and ruthless in order to make it in the highly competitive world of fashion couture. One trait I especially admire is her loyalty to family and employees.

An Influencer: I enjoy reading about women who are innovative and creative. Lucy has a special eye for color, texture, and lines. She has a vision for slimmer gowns whose fabric flows and creates a line of undergarments that were quite risque (at the time) to complement her designs.

Fashion and Couture: Readers who enjoy reading about the history of fashion and couture might enjoy this story of an independent, forward-thinking woman and how she influenced couture fashion.

Titanic: The ending of the story is dramatic as we learn how Lucy and her husband survive the sinking of the Titanic and about the consequences of that night.

Themes: Thoughtful themes include successes and setbacks, a second chance at love, survival, believing in yourself and your talents/gifts, taking risks, grit, loyalty, persistence, and determination.

Recommended: I think readers who are interested in fashion will enjoy this story of a real-life person/designer brought to life.

A Dress of Violet Taffeta

My Rating:  4 Stars


A Dress of Biolet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen (cover) Image: a woman stands facing away from the camera wearing a violet long gown....gold filigree around the border and told text over the background picture

A Dress of Violet Taffeta Information Here

Meet the Author, Tessa Arlen

Author Tessa Arlen


Is A Dress of Violet Taffeta on your TBR or have you read it?

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  1. I have read A Dress of Violet Taffeta and really enjoyed it. I liked all the dressmaking details.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carol. Lucy was such a trailblazer for fashion and women entrepreneurs. Arlen did a fabulous job with the era, fashions, and characters. I am looking forward to her next novel.

  3. This sounds like a fascinating story, Carol. Learning about a real woman who bucked the acceptable beliefs of women and was successful always interests me, but I am also a sewer (I used to make all my own and my children’s clothes) so this is doubly interesting. Wonderful review.

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