Inheriting a priceless vintage clothing collection sounds like every woman’s dream come true.
But when Charlotte Smith discovered that her American godmother, Doris Darnell, had made her custodian of more than three thousand pieces dating from 1790 to the 1990s, including originals by Chanel and Dior, she was more than a little daunted.
Then Charlotte uncovered her first treasure— an exquisite 1920s evening dress—and promptly fell in love. And once she found her godmother’s book of stories, the true value of her inheritance hit home. This wasn’t merely a collection of beautiful things, it was a precious collection of women’s lives. Tiny glimpses of our joys and disappointments, our entrances and exits, triumphant and tragic.
In her previous book, Dreaming of Dior, Charlotte shared some of these gorgeous dresses and the stories of the women who wore them. Now, in Dreaming of Chanel, with special appearances by Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Pucci, Valentino and many more, Charlotte offers another unforgettable glimpse inside the magical wardrobe every woman would love to own.
Charlotte Smith is Curator of The Darnell Collection. She was born in Hong Kong to an English mother and an American father. She grew up with her brother and sister on the east coast of America and graduated with a degree in Art History from Hollins College in Virginia. Charlotte has worked for art dealers, ran her own business manufacturing decorative lampshades and was the proprietor of a French country antiques shop. Her interests include horse riding, interior decorating, writing and gardening. She has lived and worked in America, England, France and and now resides in Australia, in the Blue Mountains with her daughter.
Charlotte's fascination with fashion began with a special vintage dress at the age of three. Since inheriting her godmother's vast vintage clothing collection, her passion for fashion has grown to include the history of fashion and its significant impact on society. Charlotte is involved with exhibitions of her collection around the country, gives lectures and talks, works with fashion and design students and is featured on television and radio.
Grant Cowan has worked as an illustrator on magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Red magazine. He studied fashion design and lived in London before moving to Australia to teach fashion illustration. Grant is a freelance fashion illustrator and works with fashion schools in Sydney.