'Raw and real and funny and sad – I could not put this book down' – Jane Kennedy
'You might expect fluff and fashion ... what you get is harrowing, full-strength, funny and deeply satisfying'
– Zoë Foster Blake
Unflinching, funny, shocking, inspiring and tender: this is a story like no other.
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 of ‘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!’
At the height of her success, Alannah walked the razor’s edge between two identities – the ‘good’ Alannah and the ‘mongrel bastard’ Alannah. Who was the real Alannah Hill? Reprieve came in the form of a baby boy and the realisation that becoming a mother not only changes your life, but completely refurbishes it, forever.
Yet 'having it all' turned out to be another illusion. In 2013 Alannah walked away from her eponymous brand, a departure that left her coming apart at the seams. She slowly came to understand the only way she could move forward was to go back. At the heart of it all was her mother, whose loveless marriage and disappointment in life had a powerful and long-lasting effect on her daughter. It was finally time to call a truce with the past.
This extraordinary book is the fierce and intelligent account of how a freckle-faced teenage runaway metamorphosed into a trailblazer and true original.
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 trailblazing and iconic fashion houses. In 2013 Alannah left her eponymous brand and in 2015 launched her new fashion brand LOUISE LOVE. Alannah lives in Melbourne with her sixteen-year-old son and beagle dog, Jack.
'Not since singer Marianne Faithfull published her bestselling, no-holds barred biography, has a high profile woman’s memoir had the power to move us to laughter and tears as Butterfly on a Pin, the remarkable memoir of Australian designer Alannah Hill. Butterfly on a Pin is empowering, entertaining, and insightful. It resonates with readers both familiar and not with Alannah’s fashion career, dealing with bigger subjects such as family, estrangement, self-reinvention, and the limitlessness of the imagination.'