Wildchilds

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Pub Date Sep 20 2018 | Archive Date Feb 21 2020

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Description

The Loss of Innocence, the Death of Beauty, and the Price of Success

AN EX-MODEL’S JOURNEY THROUGH THE DARK SIDE OF FASHION, WHERE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE DO UGLY THINGS

 

Whether you’re flipping through a glossy magazine editorial or scrolling through the Instagram feeds of today’s “it” girls, it’s not hard to see that youth and beauty reign supreme in the fashion industry – or to imagine that all that glitters really is gold. Young people flock to fashion thinking it’s all celebrities, parties, dresses, and models, not realizing this is a massive industry that accounts for $3 trillion globally – or that youth and beauty provide no protection at all against the real powers that be.

One of Fall 2018’s most electrifying fiction debuts, former model and agent Eugenia Melian pulls back the glittering curtain to reveal the fashion industry’s darkest secrets in Wildchilds: A Novel – set for release in paperback and ebook formats on September 20, 2018 (coinciding with Fashion Week in NYC, Paris, London, and Milan).

Wildchilds centers on Iris de Valadé, a retired top model living in self-imposed exile along the verdant Sonoma coast with her seventeen-year-old daughter, Lou. Readers are introduced to Iris at the very moment an ominous package from FedEx arrives at her door. It is a letter from a lawyer’s office informing that Gus de Santos – the love of Iris’ life, a celebrated art and fashion photographer, and the father Lou has never met – has unexpectedly died, and his estate has been left to Lou on one condition: Iris must go to Paris and recover a missing collection of his work.

Iris is reluctant to return to the site of the most traumatizing experience of her life, but ultimately agrees to do so at the pleading of Lou, who is coming into her own as a young woman and increasingly at odds with her mother over her decision to give up the glamorous life she once had and quarantine them in sleepy northern California.

Iris soon discovers that she is not the only one after the photographs. An old enemy is staking claim to them, and a notorious tabloid is threatening Iris with brutal – and very private – images of her past life. To protect her daughter, Iris must confront the demons that caused her to flee Paris, her career, and her life with Gus. Will she expose the industry’s dark side and shameful secrets? Can she shield her family from the consequences?

In a gritty and suspenseful journey through past and present, Wildchilds takes readers from haute couture runways to cramped model flats, behind the closed doors of editorial offices of the fashion industry’s most important tastemakers, and in front of the camera in photography studios where beauty and youth are at their peak, ugliness and moral corruption abound, and timeless art is created.

At its heart, though, Wildchilds is simply an evocative and page-turning story about human beings, with themes including the complex mother-daughter relationship, healing from trauma, the loss of innocence, abuses of power, and the darkness that lies underneath the glamorous façade of “dream jobs.”

“Wildchilds is a work of fiction based on the truth,” shares Melian. “It’s the book I would’ve liked to read about the industry I’ve spent three decades working in.

“Kids are being made to believe that success comes fast, but in Wildchilds I address how long and difficult the process is and what it can take if you want to succeed. The sacrifices you must make. And what happens when your ambition is stronger than your moral standards.”

The Loss of Innocence, the Death of Beauty, and the Price of Success

AN EX-MODEL’S JOURNEY THROUGH THE DARK SIDE OF FASHION, WHERE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE DO UGLY THINGS

 

Whether you’re flipping through a...


A Note From the Publisher

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since the early 1980s, Eugenia Melian has worked as a model, agent, producer, and music supervisor in Milan, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles. She has discovered, managed, art directed and produced some of the most talented artists of our time, with career highlights that include launching the careers of iconic photographers Tony Viramontes and David LaChapelle, and co-producing Malcolm McLaren’s cult album Paris. Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Hardy, LouLou de la Falaise, Sonya Rykiel, Rocco Siffredi, Helmut Newton, David Bailey, Faye Dunaway, Marlon Brando, Prince, Tilda Swinton, Guerlain, Vogue, Daft Punk, Blur, Stella McCartney, Janet Jackson and The Face are among the long list of luminaries and brands she has collaborated on projects with and represented. Eugenia currently lives in northern California, and in September 2018 will release her debut novel Wildchilds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since the early 1980s, Eugenia Melian has worked as a model, agent, producer, and music supervisor in Milan, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles. She has discovered...


Advance Praise

“If fashion photographs could talk, and felt like telling the truth, you’d have Wildchilds—an accomplished and compelling first novel by a true insider.”

-- Joan Juliet Buck, Author of The Price of Illusion & editor-in-chief of French Vogue (1994-2001)

“If fashion photographs could talk, and felt like telling the truth, you’d have Wildchilds—an accomplished and compelling first novel by a true insider.”

-- Joan Juliet Buck, Author of The Price of...


Marketing Plan

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* National consumer print, online, and broadcast media campaign *

* Publishing trade outreach *

* Author interviews and excerpts available upon request *

* Influencer outreach to Amazon top reviewers &...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781732547704
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 9 members


Featured Reviews

Wonderful memoir. Very entertaining and grabs hold of you from the beginning. Intense! Will be hard to put down.

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“That’s the business, Iris. It’s a ruthless industry. People’s love lasts but one season.”

In a novel that is fiction meets memoir, Eugenia Melian (who has worked in the industry as model, agent, producer, and music supervisor in Milan, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles) tells the story of former top model in Paris, Iris, who has to make the choice to extract herself from her greatest love, Gus and the industry itself. We meet her present day living in La Arboleda on a ranch in Northern California, a far cry from the thrills and noise of the city. Single motherhood has fit her well, raising Lou all on her own after tragedy, a teen girl who looks and carries herself as gracefully as Iris, her life feels full enough. Maybe she doesn’t quite fit in with all the moms walking around in their yoga pants, but this is the calm her soul thrives on. The past eleven years, this has been paradise, peaceful, quiet until shocking news comes screaming that Gus, the father Lou has never met, the famous art and fashion photographer Iris once was muse and lover of, has died! She hadn’t even known he was sick!

Long ago, escaping that life, that admittedly was thrilling, fulfilling for a while she never imagined normal wouldn’t be so easy to attain. Loss after loss followed, and here now Lou blames her mother for ‘never marrying my father’, blames the man who never bothered to know his girl so how is she expected to feel anything, she doesn’t know him!, Worse still, how is she to come to terms with knowing she will never know her father Gus now? Isn’t fury a normal reaction? In fact, Lou badgers her, wanting to know why she won’t go back into modeling, who is dumb enough to give up fame, money, admiration of men, Paris, New York? Iris is too scared to reveal the real reasons, the dark side of that high life. Settles instead telling her there are dangers in modeling. Making matters worse, Gus has left his photographic estate to Lou, and Iris is the executor. Being forced back into the chaos of Gus isn’t what she wants, memories of her childhood with her successful, often distant French mother consuming her as much as the abuses of her past, when she was so young and beautiful, a hot star on the rise. The drugs, the parties, the transgressions, but too there are memories of the intense bond, the passion between she and Gus. It had been amazing, for a time, where their love seemed ‘invincible’ until it soured, things moved too fast, she had to jump off that wild ride to survive, afraid of becoming something shameful.

Gus spent his entire life running away, towards something that was never enough, that took him further from Iris and Lou. But he was there in the beginning, for the rise of Iris as much a big part of her fall. Fellow models weren’t living with the easy luck, the shine that Iris was, the stark reality being girls disappeared, people took advantage, beauty wasn’t a deterrent to brutality, to the gritty streets. Beauty doesn’t keep you safe, in fact it seems to cry out for defilement. Money can be poisonous too. Power often leads to bottomless appetites, where better to feast than in the glamour and glitter of the modeling world? Young girls and boys eager as a puppy to be something, someone, willing to do anything, and if not… so much the better.

Now a dangerous enemy has Iris in their sights. In order to give Lou everything Gus intended, the only real thing she will ever have of her father, Iris has to meet his conditions and retrieve the missing collection in Paris. If that’s not bad enough, she is being threatened with photos by a tabloid, a shameful past that haunts her. No longer the ingénue, it could well be that she has been underestimated, and it is time to confront the past, and strike back. No more can she allow anyone to take power away from her, not when she has her own beloved daughter to protect! It is through her love of Lou that she finds immeasurable strength to stop being a victim!

With the headlines of today, it’s not so shocking (isn’t that sad) that people abuse the young, knowing people will do anything for fame and those who won’t can be forced, manipulated by any means and those in power always have means, be sure of that. Iris was a natural, really good at what she did, loved it but couldn’t, wouldn’t accept the underbelly and more often than not that is the choice. Her own mother’s career, betrayals she stomached, sacrifices she made even hurting her own family, all the fair weather friends is ‘just the way the business goes’, life’s a jungle and it often comes to nothing, in the end. People (men and women) don’t talk about the things that happen to them in such industries, those in control know how to blackmail, you shut your mouth and take it if you hope to remain on top, or you leave quietly if you want to survive at all.

The images may be beautiful, but the reality isn’t a dream for most.

Publication Date: Out Tomorrow September 20, 2018

Fashion Sphinx Books

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What a timely book.

Iris is a former model and single mom. She's living a quiet life as a sculptor and receives the new that her daughter's father has died. Iris must travel to Los Angeles to sort through the paperwork of his estate and doing so bring about painful memories of her past life.

There are very dark parts of Iris's story explored. The illicit love affair, and pain that was inflected both physically and mentally. This isn't a light-hearted read. This is a book of pain and struggle and honesty.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to Net Galley and Fashion Sphinx Books.

The world of fashion is about as far from my orbit as anything could be (wrote the reviewer from her armchair while wearing her favorite chenille robe and slippers.) However, I have taken a few wild literary chances that have paid off, and an online acquaintance said she had enjoyed this novel, so I plunged. Although I did learn some things, it didn’t work for me as well as I had hoped.

Conceptually, it’s interesting. Lou has never known her father Gus, who was a successful photographer, and due to the terms of his will, she must now travel to Paris and retrieve an important collection of his work. Others are also after it, though neither she nor her mother Iris, who is traveling with her, know why. There are dark doings in the world of fashion, and what’s more, the teaser tells us that this is a fictionalized account of real events.

The problem here is that I don’t believe one of the two main characters, and no novel of any kind works if the reader sees too much of the writer behind the character. It’s like in the movie, where Toto pulls the curtain away and we see that the great and powerful Oz is just a little guy talking into a microphone. This is what happens to me when I read Lou’s character. My sense is that the author may not have spent a lot of time with adolescents. The teenager is the star of his or her own personal world, and even the most successful entertainers and artists are their children’s audience, not the reverse. Lou, on the other hand, just can’t get enough of her mother’s memories. Iris talks and talks; Lou soaks it all in and begs for more. Perhaps the author’s purpose was to provide Iris with the chance to tell her story, but if so, it would have been more effective with another adult character, because children don’t behave this way. The news of a father that Iris wouldn’t tell her about earlier helps make her curiosity more credible, but Iris’s recollections travel far and wide, and Lou never cuts her off or redirects her.

In more expert hands, this might have been a chance to develop a very unusual literary teenager, but it’s a tough job, and I didn’t see that happen. Once Lou’s development comes apart, there’s not much purpose to the rest of it, apart from the information one can learn about the fashion industry and its history.

This book is recommended to a niche audience, and it is for sale now.

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