One Enchanted Evening - A Book About Stunning Classic Style and Social History



One Enchanted Evening is a fabulous book by Charlotte Smith, who inherited an amazing collection of designer dresses from her godmother. The book is beautifully illustrated by Grant Cowan and features many of the designs and who they originally belonged to. Grant has worked as an illustrator on magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Red Magazine and teaches fashion illustration. He also illustrated Dreaming of Dior and Dreaming of Chanel.


Charlotte Smith owns literally thousands of beautiful dresses and gowns thanks to her godmother, Doris Darnell. She has also lived a glamorous life in high fashion cities such as London, Paris and New York. After settling in Australia, in 2004, she inherited a vintage clothing collection of more than 3000 priceless pieces from her beloved Quaker godmother, Doris Darnell. Since then Charlotte has built the Darnell Collection into an incomparable wardrobe of more than 8000 originals, from Dior to Chanel, Prada to Pucci, and Easton Pearson to Akira.


Along with these fashion masterpieces, Charlotte also inherited something even more precious: her godmother’s book of stories of the women behind the dresses and this is how One Enchanted Evening was created. Flipping through the book is a delight, each page opens up a new story and beautiful dress. The peacock skirt above, really caught my eye, it's such a statement. I enjoyed flipping through and stopping at the pages that caught my eye and doing this over and over again.

With much research and attention to detail One Enchanted Evening is a recreation, in vivid colour, of social history and stories of how fashion has empowered and enriched the lives of women over time.


From the Loris Azzaro evening gown that Veronique wore on the red carpet at a Shirley Bassey concert, to the Valentino dress that Edith Carmichael chose for her eighteenth birthday on a surprise trip to Rome; to the Leonard of Paris Op Art jumpsuit that Claudine wore to a Paris house party hosted by Count Guillaume, One Enchanted Evening takes us inside the magical wardrobe that every woman would love to own.

I am sure this is a book that anyone who loves style will want to have on their bookshelf.



Charlotte Smith is the Curator of the Darnell Collection and the author of Dreaming of Dior and Dreaming of Chanel. She showcases the collection at events throughout Australia and overseas. Charlotte lives in the Blue Mountains in Sydney.

You can purchase the book online or at any good bookstore.

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