Fashion Lit

Fashion lit – now that’s a course I wish I could have taken!

A recent trip to Chapters had me feeling like a kid in a candy shop (or, as it could be appropriately said in my case, Champagne Moods in a patisserie). Many fashion books have recently come out and have my head spinning! Here are some of the books that I am dieing to add to my bookshelf:

From Amazon: After nearly a lifetime spent in the Industry, author and fashion insider Simon Doonan is ready to let you in on a little secret: his peers in this multibillion-dollar industry are just as nutty as the denizens of your local loony bin. In The Asylum, an unabashedly hilarious collection of autobiographical essays, Doonan, the creative ambassador for Barneys New York, tells the real-life stories of glamorous madness and stylish insanity. Doonan has witnessed models unable to work for fear of ghosts, gone deep-sea fishing with a couturier pal and his jailbird companion, and watched Anna Wintour remain perfectly calm while the ceiling fell—literally—in the middle of Fashion Week. Once you start looking, he says, you’ll notice telltale signs of lunacy everywhere. Style insiders see patterns and trends in everything; they suffer from outsize personality disorders and delusions of grandeur; and of course, they have a predilection for theatrical makeup and artfully destroyed clothing. No one is more suited to the asylum than the truly die-hard fashionista—after all, eccentricity and extremism are the foundations of great style. With his gimlet eye for the absurd and a love for eccentricity, Doonan’s personal and professional stories never fail to entertain. “The David Sedaris of the style universe” (The Boston Globe) gives us the scoop on the kooky, cutthroat—but always fabulous—fashion world, and proves himself one of the sharpest humorists writing today.

I love Diana Vreeland, and her book D.V. is a firm favourite so I am glad we are getting more Vreeland in our lives (as seen below)!

From Amazon: A look behind the scenes at Diana Vreeland’s Vogue, showing the legendary editor in chief in her own inimitable words. When Diana Vreeland became editor in chief of Vogue in 1963, she initiated a transformation, shaping the magazine into the dominant U.S. fashion publication. Vreeland’s Vogue was as entertaining and innovative as it was serious about fashion, art, travel, beauty, and culture. Vreeland rarely held meetings and communicated with her staff and photographers through memos dictated from her office or Park Avenue apartment. This extraordinary compilation of more than 250 pieces of Vreeland’s personal correspondence—most published here for the first time—includes letters to Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Norman Parkinson, Veruschka, and Cristobal Balenciaga and memos that show the direction of some of Vogue’s most legendary stories. These display Vreeland’s irreverence and her characteristically over-the-top pronouncements and reveal her sharpness about the Vogue woman and what the magazine should be. Photographs from the magazine illustrate the memos, showing her imagination, prescience, and exactitude. Each chapter is introduced by commentary from Vogue editors who worked with her, giving readers a truly inside look at how Diana Vreeland directed the course of the magazine and fashion world.

I always love hearing about couture and the artistry behind it – becoming more and more set against so-called “fast fashion” – the following book sounds so interesting:

From Amazon: In today’s world of fast fashion, is there a place for a handcrafted $50,000 coat? When journalist Meg Lukens Noonan learned of an unthinkably expensive, entirely handcrafted overcoat that a fourth-generation tailor had made for one of his longtime clients, she set off on an adventure to understand its provenance, and from that impulse unspooled rich and colorful stories about its components, the centuries-old bespoke industry and its traditions, and the master craftsmen whose trade is an art form. In The Coat Route, Noonan pieces together the creation of the coat in question, tracing its elements to their far-flung sources, from the remote mountains of Peru, where villagers shear vicunas—whose soft fleece is more coveted and rare than the finest cashmere—to the fabulous Florentine headquarters of Stefano Ricci, the world’s greatest silk designer; from the family-owned French fabric house Dormeuil, founded in 1842, which drapes kings, presidents, and movie stars to the 150-year-old English button-making firm that creates the ne plus ultra of fasteners out of Indian water-buffalo horn and the workshop of the master hand engraver who makes the eighteen-karat gold plaque that hangs inside the coat’s collar. We meet the dapper son-in-law of an Australian wine baron who commissions the coat’s creation, and we come to know John Cutler, one of the top bespoke tailors in the world, who works his magic with scissors and thread out of his Sydney shop, redolent of cedar and English wool. Featuring a cast of offbeat, obsessed, and wildly entertaining characters, The Coat Route presents a rich tapestry of local masters, individual artisans, and family-owned companies that have stood against the tide of mass consumerism. As Noonan comes to realize, these craftsmen, some of whom find themselves on the brink of retirement with no obvious successors, have increasing reason to believe that their way is the best way—best for their customers, best for the environment, and best for the quality of life of all involved. The Coat Route is a love song to things of lasting value.

Some others that have me interested:

From Amazon: This gorgeous volume celebrates the creative eye and inspiration of the man who, through his art, photography, design, magazine work, and social life, influenced and changed our visual culture. This visually rich volume presents, for the first time side by side, the commercial work and artwork of Alexander Liberman. Liberman was not only one of the world’s most powerful editorial art directors, he was also a respected photographer, artist, and graphic designer. His personal exploration and relationships through these mediums shaped his own artistic vision that would alter the relationship of art, design, and fashion forever. In the early ’40s, he became art director of Vogue, and then editorial director for Condé Nast Publications from 1960 to 1994. His transformation of Vogue from a stately publication to the bold and lively publication that it is today forever changed the way women and men viewed fashion and style. It’s Modern is a vibrant volume that pairs Liberman’s professional efforts with his personal artwork and design. This juxtaposition, along with personal archival photographs and texts, artworks, and photographs by iconic friends and collaborators, builds a complete portrait of a genius whose personal life and inspirations were as fascinating as his artwork. With works by Matisse, Beaton, Leibovitz, Newton, Ritts, Brassaï, Parks, Horst, Picasso, Avedon, and Penn, this engaging book is a must for lovers of fashion, art, magazines, graphic design, or photography.
From Amazon: Karl Lagerfeld’s quick wit and silver tongue are as notorious as Chanel’s quilted handbag. This book is a cornucopia of his Karlisms: cultivated, unpredictable, provocative, sometimes shocking, but always impossible to ignore. Karl Lagerfeld is a modern master of couture. While simultaneously running Chanel, Fendi, and his own eponymous fashion house, he has consistently re-invented trends on the catwalk and in the street for half a century. His wise, surprising statements pop up like offbeat news flashes and are regularly seized upon by fashionistas, acolytes, and sages the world over. Here, in his own deadpan words, are his exacting opinions on everything-from fashion, style, women, and Chanel to fame, life, and books. This is the ultimate repertoire of wit and wisdom from fashion’s sharpest pin. “I only know how to play one role: me.” “Think pink. But don’t wear it.” “I like everything to be washable, myself included.” “Change is the healthiest way to survive.” “I don’t recommend myself as a guest.” “There is one thing I love on earth: to learn.”

The days of Fall will be so much warmer with one of these to curl up with in imaginary Pratesi sheets 🙂

Wishing you the best of everything,

Champagne Moods

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