FASHION BY THE BOOK
You LOVE fashion. You eagerly anticipate your monthly fix of news from Cosmo and Vogue and comb the web often to keep up with and stay ahead of the ever-changing fashion trends. You. Could. Be… No, you ARE a trendsetter, because you know what’s coming. You are depeche mode, baby, and that’s no sly reference to the band. Literally translated, depeche mode (no caps) means fashion news. If, in your quest for fashion greatness, you’ve ever wondered where it all started and how this incredible industry actually functions, well we’ve got some good reads to help keep you in the know. They’ll probably look pretty nice on your coffee table as well.
Discover the life of Bergdorf Goodman’s personal shopper of 40 years (a position she literally created for herself since, well, she couldn’t do anything else, her words!), Betty Halbreich. In I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist (2015) Halbreich shares her story of working with socialites and celebrities, as well as ordinary women, all in search of honest advice for their fashion makeover. Pushing 90, she is still trusted for her True Fashionista wisdom by the most discerning clientele, including Hollywood’s top stylists, to tell them what looks best. In her book, she shares details, advice and the story of her remarkable transformation from privileged youth and pampered homemaker to worldly fashion advisor.
Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider’s View from Inside the Fashion Industry (2016) is former Cosmopolitan online editor Amy Odell’s (find her on Twitter) collection of personal essays about being a reporter elbowing her way into and around the fast-paced fashion industry. In the pages of her tome, Amy takes you backstage at some of New York’s most True Fashionista fashion shows and behind the scenes of the industry itself to meet the larger than life characters involved. Through Amy’s eyes, we meet daunting Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour (The Devil Wears Prada, anyone?), fashion designers, TV celebrities and of course, the supermodels. For someone who got swept into the fashion world almost by accident writingNew York Magazine’s fashion blog The Cut, Amy’s behind-the-scenes position is a great viewpoint for those wanting in, and a great read for anyone looking to know more.
When your lens is trained on the streets of cityscapes around the world as well as on the fashion industry, there are bound to be a lot of True Fashionista stories to accompany the photos. In his follow-up to Men in this Town, photographer, art director and blogger Guiseppe Santamaria delivers a worldly collection in Women in This Town: New York, Paris, Melbourne, Tokyo, Madrid and London (2015). Striking images of women captured rocking their individual style on the street is the goal achieved here. When not specifically on display, “What do women wear?” is the question most answered here, as the images represent a myriad of demographics, races and style choices. It’s all about individuality is the answer; displaying this quality is the quest of the author. Along the way, he shares the thoughts of several women who share the inspiration for their look as well as their thoughts about the modern fashion landscape.
Now what list of fashion books would be complete without one or two by or about, say, the designers themselves? But wait, ya gotta have art! The two have been True Fashionista intertwined quite famously since 1992 by Dutch duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, better known as Viktor&Rolf. Pushing the boundaries between art and fashion, presentations of their collections have featured such performers as Rufus Wainright, Tori Amos and Tilda Swinton. Their unique, defiant approach to design, singular take on the concept of wearable art and immense knowledge of the fashion industry is on display in Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years (2018), edited by Thierry-Maxime Loriot. Well-known photographers and artists including Anton Corbijn, Annie Leibovitz, Tim Walker and Cindy Sherman capture the essence of the duo’s vision and creations.
The late Kate Spade wrote a book too! Not about her signature style and designing journey or maybe her muse, but rather a guide to being a first-class hostess. Kate spade new york: all in good taste (2015) throws the rulebook out the window with simple yet stylish ideas, while retaining all the class for which her line has come to be known. Chock full of cute anecdotes, recipes and hacks like curating the perfect guest list and table Instagram etiquette, this pink-bound coffee table piece will catch the eye at any fine get-together.
Happy reading! Or just admiring how good that stylish book looks on your coffee table. So True Fashionista, baby!