Author: Kate Betts
My Paris Dream chronicles the rise of Kate Betts from Princeton graduate to confident, capable career woman with many editor positions under her belt. It is the coming of age story that follows Kate through her fashion education across the globe.
Let me start by saying that I’m not always a big fan of memoirs, I find them interesting from an informative point of view but I don’t necessarily find them easy to read. My Paris Dream weighs in at a little over 200 pages and it took me well over a week to wade through.
Kate Betts, Princeton graduate, had a dream to break out of her predictable life and find herself in Paris. So that’s what she did. At times it was hard work and she started out in a series of menial jobs just to pay the bills until she landed a role at Women’s Wear Daily and began her career in high fashion.
Her memoir is littered with French phrases and very heavy with description which I found hard reading at times.
For lovers of high fashion and France I think this would be a lovely escape into the world that Kate inhabited. Intimate explorations of the people and places that helped mold her into the woman she is today.
Kate grew into the fashion world in the late 80s and early 90s, a time when I was too young for fashion but the names are still so familiar. Models and designers who were at the top of the fashion food chain are present throughout and there was one passage that actually dragged me right in trying to work out who this designer was that she thought wasn’t going anywhere because I had a niggling feeling that he is now extremely well known in fashion circles.
The more I think back on my reading experience of this one the more I am actually appreciating some elements. So easily this could have become a glossy gossip fest dishing the behind the scenes dirt on the designers of the day, who was doing who and getting up to what. Instead we follow Kate’s dedication to doing the best she could; the long hours, the drop everything to get to the office and the disastrous effect that sometimes had on her relationships.
Kate had an affair with Paris, her love for the city is apparent in every line and every description. The book is filled with illustrations from her time in Paris, almost a mini scrapbook of her time with photos, business cards, invitations, magazine covers and all sorts of little things that are often kept as keepsakes. Most of the photos are from Kate’s own collection.
My Paris Dream is a journey of self discovery, of hard work, long hours and the desire to find her place in the world. Kate takes us through the excitement of a new life, new places, new relationships and the struggle for acceptance, both personally and professionally.
If you love fashion, the people and the places and you enjoy reading autobiographies and memoirs then I think you will love this. There is an element of the who’s who of fashion but it is first and foremost Kate’s story. I liked the book, I liked Kate’s story but I did find it a little heavy going because it’s not usually my thing.
My Paris Dream is available where all good books are sold and Allen & Unwin.