Title: Behind the Taffeta Curtain
Author: Verne Castress
Genre: Women's Fiction
Clair, a small-town girl attending Iowa State University in 1940, has her palm read for a laugh—and gets a surprisingly specific prediction about her career, marriage, and children. She laughs it off, with no idea of how accurate it will turn out to be. After a failed romance, she hastily marries a man named John, has two children, and very soon finds herself miserable. John is not only abusive and controlling, but also a compulsive gambler. In an effort to support their family, Clair finds work in a nearby department store, and her career in fashion begins. In the sixties and seventies, Clair works her way up through the industry, chipping away at the glass ceiling of a field with far fewer women executives than the ad firms of Madison Avenue at the time. As an executive buyer for numerous retail conglomerates, she travels the globe searching for innovative fashions and meets regularly with iconic designers such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Oscar de la Renta. Among the fashion elite living the high life, there are steamy affairs, drugs, and suicides, as tragic elements mark the lives of these women in fashion whose insecurity remains hidden beneath their stoicism. This novel tells the story of Clair’s journey through the fashion world, a single mother contending with the conniving wiles of men and women and facing obstacles in the devious, behind-the-scenes political struggle of those climbing to the top.
Verne Castress retired following a forty-five-year career as a fashion executive, for which she traveled the world in search of innovative fashions for the American market. The mother of two adult children, she currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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