Butterfly On A Pin by Alannah Hill

Butterfly on a Pin


A memoir of love, despair and re-invention

Alannah Hill, one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, created an international fashion brand that defied trends with ornamental, sophisticated elegance, beads, bows and vintage florals.  But growing up in a milk bar in Tasmania, Alannah’s childhood was one of hardship, fear and abuse.  At an early age, she ran away from home, with eight suitcases of costumes and a fierce determination to succeed, haunted by her mother’s refrain “You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you, and you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!” – from the dustjacket

This memoir follows her journey, from run away to success to breakdown, and her reinvention of herself, as she once again heads towards success in the fickle fashion industry.

My Thoughts

My main reason for reading this book is that I remember seeing Alannah Hill, many times,  in the street, in Melbourne in the early days of her career. At the time she was very popular and had a chain of Alannah Hill shops. She always stood out in a crowd as she dressed in vintage florals, lots of lace and bows at a time that fashion was quite plain and boring.

I expected the book to be lightweight, fluff about fashion, and I really didn’t expect her to be an accomplished writer. Much to my surprise, from the first page I could tell that Alannah Hill could write.And she had something to say. I experienced many emotions as I read this book. I laughed and cried and felt very angry at her mother, while at the same time, feeling sad for her mother.  I found the book to be very moving and poignant.

Butterfly On A Pin is a very honest, compelling memoir. Alannah does not mince words and though her story is very, very sad at times, she manages to put a humorous slant on her experiences. Her story could be very depressing, but definitely is not.  Due to her writing skill, Hill manages to draw the reader into her world, as she shines a light on the fashion industry and her experiences. I found myself feeling very much in awe of her talent and for her forgiving nature.

Unflinching, funny, shocking, inspiring, and tender.  This is a story like no other
These words were written on the dustjacket.  I can only agree whole heartedly

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Alannah Hill is a designer, author and stylist.  For seventeen years, she was the founder and creative director of the brand Alannah Hill, one of Australia’s most iconic fashion houses.  In 2013, Alannah left her extremely well known brand, and in 2015, launched her new fashion brand, Louise Love.  Alannah lives in Melbourne, with her teenage son, and her beagle Jack.

Published in 2018 by Hardie Grant Books. Softcover 325 pages

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