Hello, friends! Our book today is Bloom: A Story Of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli, written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad, a moving story of the fashion innovator and her passion for color and redefining beauty.
When Elsa was born in 1890 in Rome, her parents were disappointed – they had wanted a boy. Her mother heavily favored her older sister, giving her the nickname “Bella”. She gave a nickname to Elsa as well: “Brutta”, Italian for “Ugly.” Elsa so wished to be beautiful that she tried to plant flower seeds in her ears and mouth so she could grow a face full of the beautiful flowers of Rome, but she only made herself sick. But from these heartbreaking beginnings, an artist grew; Elsa went on to travel the world, to learn how to design and construct clothes, to become friends with prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. She became a massive success – people adored her colorful, playful fashions that let women express themselves. She even invented her own color with Jean Clemént: “Shocking Pink”! All because Elsa decided that she would let no one else define her beauty – she was beautiful just the way she was.
Wow! I was not expecting this at all. I confess to having never heard of Elsa before reading the book, and the experience of learning her story was a moving one. I adored that the story was told from the first person – it allowed a real connection with Elsa, and insight into her feelings and motivations. Morstad’s illustrations are as stunning and energetic as always, and she uses color and detail to make each illustration not only tell a story, but be an emotional experience. The length isn’t bad, perhaps a bit long for very young bookworms, but JJ loved the vibrant colors. An inspiring story of a great artist, and the empowering lesson against letting others define your beauty or worth. Baby Bookworm approved!