Reading List: Coffee Table Books on Fashion, Art & Style

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“There is nothing like the smell of books, both new and old. If someone ever bottled the smell, I would be all over it.” – Tiffany King

Fashion, in its most original form, can be found in books. Archives and biographies tend to give rare insights into what we could never know without their existence. Even today, in a world dominated by technology, books have a specific place in fashion, one that is irreplaceable. Keeping that in mind, we bring to you reads that are as original and dynamic as their subjects.

Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore

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Contrary to popular stereotypes, not all writers wear oversized flannel shirts and sweatshirts. Neither does every one of them endorse tousled, bedhead hair. Like Tom Wolfe said,“You never realize how much of your background is sewn in the lining of your clothes.”

Mark Twain was a fan of white suits and  Zadie Smith has single handedly popularised the head wrap. That Joan Didion has starred in campaigns for Celine is well known, but most of us would have been living comfortably in our world of make belief fiction, had it not been for Terry Newman’s ‘Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore’. Published recently by Harper Design, the book is a combination of the author’s love for fashion and literature, with 50 prominent writers and their lesser known sartorial tendencies. Think lesser known facts, details and anecdotes about Marcel Proust, Edgar Allen Poe, Zelda and F.Scott Fitzgerald and many others. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

  

                                      Edith Sitwell                                                                                                     Oscar Wilde

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Harper’s Bazaar: 150 Years: The Greatest Moments

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The first ever issue of Harper’s Bazaar was published on November 2, 1867, depicting bridal fashions in ensembles and hair. It was only valid that a celebratory gesture be made to celebrate 150 years of America’s first fashion Magazine. With ‘Harper’s Bazaar: 150 Years: The Greatest Moments’, Glenda Bailey, the current editor-in-chief, has left no stone unturned to bring the best of fashion and history from the magazine’s past several decades. What makes the feat even more applaudable is that there were no archives to start with. The result, however, is a beautiful depiction which should be missed for no reason.


James Moore: Photographs 1962-2006

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James Moore has influenced the fashion of 60’s more than you would know, but now, the photographer’s iconic images are part of a book titled ‘James Moore: Photographs 1962-2006’. The book chronicles his time in Harper’s Bazaar in the 1960’s, as well as his contribution to other magazines for almost half a century. Expect pictures of a time gone by in black and white settings and iconic imagery of fashion that is almost hypnotic, with notes from leading editors.

  

                       Beate Schulz Moore, Jan 1966                                               “Abstract Beauty”, Harper’s Bazaar, Jan 1963

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Dior Catwalk: The Complete Collections

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Few men can pen down fashion with as much passion as Alexander Fury. With an episodic memory of fashion events and a strong penchant for history, the chief correspondent of ‘T magazine’ has presented a collective that showcases the history of Dior’s catwalk, from the time of Christian Dior himself to Maria Grazia Chiuri.In ‘Dior Catwalk: The Complete Collections’, each creative director till date is backed by a brief biography and unseen moments in the history of Dior, making this book a unique piece of work.

A still from the book

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 Saving Grace: My Fashion Archives 1968-2016

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Grace Coddington is a star. Starting her career as a model and then turning to stylist, editor and creative director, she has donned several caps. In ‘Saving Grace: My Fashion Archives 1968-2016’, a box and collector’s item designed in collaboration with her, you will find the two volumes that look into the Creative Director’s work and contributions to Vogue in the past decades.  ‘Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue’ and ‘Grace: The American Vogue Years’ lead to her unparalleled visions captured by famed photographers such as Patrick Demarchelier, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and Annie Leibovitz. If there is one thing to not be missed, it’s the immaculate work from the woman about whom Time Magazine wrote, “If Wintour is the Pope, Coddington is Michelangelo, trying to paint a fresh version of the Sistine Chapel 12 times a year.”

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Gucci:Blind for Love

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Ever since Alessandro Michele took over the reigns at Gucci, the Italian design house has made a striking comeback. In his book ‘Blind for Love’, British artist Nick Waplington captures behind the scene images from the Cruise 2017 show, giving us insights into the inner workings of the design maverick. With a limited collection of about 2000 copies, the book captures the beautiful aesthetics that Michele is renowned for, and that’s what makes it a coveted read.

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