Fashion & Beauty

Couture Confessions: Fashion Legends in Their Own Words

Late legendary couturiers of modern fashion speaking eloquently about life, design, and inspiration. Vionnet, Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, McQueen—these names define haute couture, and long after the designers have passed away, their influence on fashion continues to be profound. In an exceptional compilation of the original words of these couturiers, Couture Confessions provides a unique and in-depth look at the lives and work of these fashion icons. In this engaging, beautifully designed book, Pamela Golbin, acclaimed chief curator of twentieth-century fashion and textiles at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, has ingeniously constructed conversations in the designers’ own words that highlight their compelling personal stories as well as essential fashion "moments"—from designers Paul Poiret, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Madame Grès, Alexander McQueen, Madeleine Vionnet, and Gabrielle Chanel to Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Jeanne Lanvin, Pierre Balmain, and Christian Dior. Featuring striking illustrations by internationally recognized illustrator Yann Legendre, each "interview" asks the questions every fashion lover has always wanted to ask, making these legends approachable, human, and ever more inspiring.

About The Author

Pamela Golbin is the chief curator of twentieth-century collections, fashion, and textiles at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Yann Legendre works in Chicago and Paris as an internationally recognized illustrator, designer, and art director.

  • Publish Date: June 07, 2016
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Design - Fashion & Accessories
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Ex Libris
  • Trim Size: 6-5/8 x 8-3/4
  • Pages: 240
  • US Price: $39.95
  • CDN Price: $39.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-4903-1


"In an age of logos, fast fashion and lifestyle brands, Couture Confessions makes the reader appreciate designers’ genuine love of the craft — and art — of creating clothes that make women beautiful."

"As the chief curator of fashion and textiles at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Pamela Golbin has mounted a steady stream of memorable fashion exhibitions. . . With Couture Confessions, her recently published book, she reanimates the voices of 11 fashion couturiers by conducting new interviews from extensive primary source material. Even while manufactured, the repartee—observations, revelations, recommendations, and predictions—amounts to a dream sequence of thoughtful, relevant tell-alls. Paul Poiret notes back in the 1920s how contemporary fashion emerges from the streets, Christian Dior maintains that 'dressed up is not necessarily chic,' and Pierre Balmain describes Dior as 'a rather fleshy man of average height.'"

"[In Couture Confessions] Ms. Golbin draws from interviews, biographies and autobiographies with designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Balmain and Gabrielle Chanel to answer her questions. Her literary contrivance is like a spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down. In her primly polite style, Ms. Golbin manages to coax her interview subjects to revelations that make them seem very much alive."

"[Couture Confessions] is enhanced with black-and-white drawings by the illustrator Yann Legendre. And as you read it, you feel like a boulevardier in present-day Paris, sitting at a cafe and leafing through a magazine chock-full of revelations."

"A must read for anyone into fashion or looking to be inspired, [Couture Confessions] does not disappoint."

"[Couture Confessions] sees Golbin, chief curator of fashion and textiles at Les Arts Decoratifs, compiling 11 impossible interviews: impossible because all the designers - from Paul Poiret through to Lee Alexander McQueen - are deceased. Yet she found enough source material such that all the answers are never real, giving readers a chance to learn about the history of fashion via intimate conversations with the likes of Jeanne Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Madame Gres."

"With Couture Confessions: Fashion Legends in Their Own Words, Pamela Golbin has managed to make eleven late designers talk, perhaps more cogently than they did during their lifetimes. . . As a group, these 'improbable interviews,' as Golbin calls them, form a fascinating chronological oral history of 20th-century fashion, beginning with Paul Poiret and ending with Alexander McQueen. . . A feat of research and editing, Couture Confessions is a truly remarkable achievement."

"Another plus when reading Couture Confessions is that within these interviews there is a treasure trove of brilliant quotes from many of these deceased designers as well as personalities of that era." 

"Golbin, the chief curator of 20th-century fashion and textiles at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, compiled quotes and personal essays from legendary designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Madeleine Vionnet, and many more."
—15 of the Most Covetable Fashion Tomes to Hit Bookshelves This Year, VOGUE

Author Bookshelf: Pamela Golbin

Author Bookshelf: Yann Legendre