Style's best look books
For an object that will look as good on your shelf as it will on your coffee table, you could do a lot worse than these fashion books. There is Mario Testino’s intimate portraits of Kate Moss, or Grace Coddington’s memories of a life on the fashion front line.
Whether you want your information to come from the old, as in Fashion: The Ultimate Book of Costume and Style, or the very new – see Style Feed or Rookie: Yearbook One – there is a wealth of choice out there. They say you can’t buy style, but they might just be wrong.
Rookie: Yearbook One, edited by Tavi Gevinson, €17.39 at bookdepository.co.uk
When 11-year-old Gevinson became the fashion blogger du jour, it seemed as though there were two possible and probable outcomes: either she would vanish as quickly as she had appeared, or she would grow into a troubled teen starlet. As it happens, Gevinson has grown into an intelligent and self-assured young woman whose e-zine, Rookie, has become the go-to guide for smart, savvy teenage girls looking for something other than the sickly sweet visions presented to them by Teen Vogue.
Kate Moss by Mario Testino, €45 at my-wardrobe.com
For Moss fans, Testino admirers or indeed any fashion mavens, this book is a must-have. It’s a feast of photographs taken by Testino of Moss throughout their decades-long friendship.
Grace: A Memoir, by Grace Coddington, €22.79 at bookdepository.com
If you’ve seen The September Issue, the 2009 documentary on US Vogue, you’ll know that the undisputed star of the show was not Anna Wintour, but Grace Coddington, the magazine’s creative director. Her memoir covers a time from her beginnings as a model to her partnership with the most feared editor in fashion.
Fashion: The Ultimate Book of Costume and Style, £18 on amazon.co.uk
This book details 3,000 years of fashion history, giving any budding fashion expert a firm grounding in clothing design, construction and couture.
Dior Couture by Patrick Demarchelier, €101 at Easons
This does exactly what it says on the tin: creations by haute-couture house Dior are photographed by one of fashion’s top photographers, Patrick Demarchelier. More than 100 gowns are featured.
The Sartorialist: Closer by Scott Schuman, €18.91 at
This is the second book by the man held responsible for the soaring popularity of street style. Schuman does not conform to any one specific aesthetic; rather, he searches for beauty, in whatever guise it may appear.
Style Feed: The World’s Top Fashion Blogs by William Oliver, €24.30 at EasonsWith an introduction by Susannah Lau, better known as Susie Bubble of the blog Style Bubble, Style Feed is an extensive look at blogs the world over (with, ahem, one notable exception). A great compendium of the world of fashion blogging.
Stylists by Katie Baron, €26.16 at bookdepository.com
The definitive guide to a mostly European pack of super stylists, including Nicola Formichetti, Katie Shillingford, Anna dell Russo and Leith Clark, Stylists is an excellent introduction to an otherwise slightly obscure world. What do stylists do? Where does their inspiration come from? Baron attempts to find out.
Fashion Designers A-Z, Prada edition, by Valerie Steele and Suzy Menkes, £212.50 at amazon.co.uk
This limited edition of the first print run of Fashion Designers A-Z isn’t cheap, but it is timeless. The Prada edition comes bound in one of four of Miuccia Prada’s favourite prints and in a plexiglass box. The book is a list of the top fashion designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, as chosen by the curators of the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and illustrated with photographs of just some of the more than 50,000 garments and accessories in the museum’s collections.
Vivienne Westwood, by Terry Jones, £24.99 at taschen.com
This book, by i-D magazine founder Terry Jones, is a thorough look at the back catalogue of the queen of punk fashion, Vivienne Westwood. It includes interviews, features and photographs from the very beginnings of Westwood’s time as British fashion’s grand dame, in the 1980s, right up to the present day.