Empresses of Fashion

Original title: Impératrices de la mode

Author: Williams, Yseult

Publication Date:

September 2015



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French


Health & Lifestyle

Empresses of Fashion

Original title: Impératrices de la mode

Author: Williams, Yseult

  • 2 Seas Represents: World Excl French.
  • Top 10 of ELLE magazine.


“A world that either we hate or we admire, in which one tries to enter and from which we can not escape: fashion, fashion, fashion more fashion. […] A subject as legitimate as any other, treated with the journalistic verve of Yseult Williams.” – Luxsure

“Yseult Williams portrays Diana Vreeland, Helen Lazareff or Anna Wintour, with a vivid and sharp pen. ‘Haute Couture’ writing!” – Mode & Travaux

“Yseult Williams has the (fashion) media at her fingertips.” – Le Figaro

“A beautiful study of the fashion customs, with a capital F.” – Le Pélican

“A beautiful book for fashion lovers and atypical personalities.” – Univers Style

“Hats off!” – Point de Vue

From Vogue’s Anna Wintour to Elle’s Hélène Lazareff, the lives of the uncommon women who make and break empires of fashion.

They are divas of the press, strange creatures whose faces are hidden by huge sunglasses, and who sit in the front row at fashion shows. In another era, they would have founded salons. But in the 1920s, they began to conquer an uncharted, promising territory where their sense of style, their audacity and their ability to distill the spirit of the times could be printed on glossy paper: fashion magazines. Over time, they turned into real political animals: eccentric, whimsical, exuberant… but also inspired, avant-garde and committed.

Today, their power is unparalleled. From the front row of the shows, where protocol is as precise as at royal courts, they make and break empires of luxury and fashion by raising an eyebrow, or writing an article with a poison pen.

This book explores a century of fashion and women’s emancipation through portraits of women from varied backgrounds but whose fates are closely tied: from the pioneer, Edna Chase, who took over Vogue in 1914, to the diva assoluta Anna Wintour, via Edmonde Charles-Roux (Vogue as well), Hélène Lazareff (Elle), Marcelle Auclair (co-founder of Marie-Claire), and many more.

Selling Points:

  • A book with mass appeal, in a similar vein to Diane Ducret’s Femmes de Dictateur (Dictators’ Wives) (Perrin, 2011, 90,000 copies in hardcover and Pocket, 2012: 150,000 copies in paperback), whose phenomenal success shows just how interested readers (particularly women readers) are in the lives of uncommon women.
  • French release timed to coincide with Paris Fashion Week (29 September/7 October 2015)
  • One portrait per chapter; the book is carried by a lively, flowing style that takes us backstage in the fashion world, and makes us feel like we’re right in the thick of things.