Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me

Jewish Interest, Memoir

How does a girl fashion herself into a woman? Patricia Volk juxtaposes two childhood idols to find her answer. Her mother, Audrey, was an upper-middle-class New Yorker and a great beauty—meticulously groomed, proudly conventional. Elsa Schiaparelli was a jolie-laide  avant-garde fashion designer whose creations broke every rule. Growing up in Audrey’s strict household, Volk read Schiap’s freewheeling autobiography and was transformed by it. It showed her there was more than one way to be a woman, and if there was more than one way, odds were there were many.