Ah, fall. The days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer and, if you’re anything like me, you suddenly have the overwhelming desire to curl up with a good book and a cuppa (tea, that is), fireplace optional.
Style-loving bibliophiles are in luck this season, what with all the many fashion and art books hitting the shelves between now and the end of the year. Fans of classic couture are sure to love Assouline’s three-volume sets dedicated to Dior and Chanel which chronicles the history and defining spirit of both storied houses (Assouline is publishing American Dior as well, showcasing the French couturier’s impact on the way American woman dressed).
Other American style icons getting the Assouline treatment are Barbie (in a collector’s volume that traces the history, fashion, and glamour of the world’s most popular doll), Hudson’s Bay Company (with a tome exploring the beginnings of the striped blanket maker that has recently been co-opted by forward-thinking fashion brands like Opening Ceremony), while relative newbie Rodarte teamed with photographers Catherine Opie and Alec Soth for an eponymous monograph on the sibling-run, California-based label, published by ARTBOOK | D.A.P.
Legendary jewelry designer Judith Ripka sees her life and work immortalized in print, while fans of creative store display will find much to savor in Windows at Bergdorf Goodman, a compendium of the most artistic, stop-‘em-in-their-tracks windows at the venerable Fifth Avenue retailer. And Lee Radziwill (aka, Jackie O’s little sister), is the subject of the newly reissued Happy Times in which she shares her memories and more than 250 images from her photo albums and personal archives.
The Impossible Collection of Art and The Impossible Collection of Fashion focus on the 100 most iconic, highly collectible pieces in each genre, curated by art advisors Philippe Ségalot and Franck Giraud and FIT Museum director, Valerie Steele, respectively. Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook highlights the DIY scrapbooks of the legendary fashion photographer (which feature then-and-always style icons such as Grace Kelly, Mick Jagger, Greta Garbo, Mae West, and Sophia Loren interspersed with his handwritten notes). High Heels pays tribute to those sexy skyscrapers we all love (and, sometimes, love to hate) through photos and interviews with footwear designers Manolo Blahnik and Nicholas Kirkwood, while Daphne Guinness hits the stands in a soon-to-be-released companion tome to the exhibit currently on view at the Museum at FIT, published by Yale University Press.
And then there’s her fellow, ill-fated partner in style crime, the late, great British aristocrat Isabella Blow. This fashion muse extraordinaire is the subject of Blow by Blow, a biography written by her husband, Detmar Blow. Equal parts comedy and tragedy (Blow was outwardly larger-than-life but suffered from crippling depression and committed suicide in 2007), this gripping read is the definition of a cautionary tale and proves that appearances can be deceiving and that sometimes the most prettily wrapped package contains some very dark contents.
Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.