Even if there are quite a few meaningful fashion books at the moment in stores or on Amazon, we are nevertheless dazzled by the latest VIP ones. Even if it’s Carine Roitfeld’s Irreverent, Cristobal Balenciaga: The Work of the Master or Vogue: The Covers, we are so curious to browse the equally appealing book about Diana Vreeland – The Eye Has to Travel.
But let’s start with the beginning… More or less in November 2011, Carine Roitfeld was starting the project of a much awaited book. Irreverent presents the bio of the famous editor from Vogue France. The book is revolved around an interview and gives us an insightful window into Carine’s life from her teenager years and the beginnings of her career as a fashion journalist.
The book contains lots of incredibly old and valuable photos, hand notes, tickets, exclusive event invitations, but also the input of big names in the fashion business such as Yves Saint Laurent or Mario Testino. Even if the price is pretty high even for a glossy book, I believe this book is far more interesting than any photo-book from Taschen for example, which have too little written content.
You should know that Irreverent is not the only editorial surprise Carine is preparing. Her another project is the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld as a fashion stylist for key people in the music, fashion or the movie industry who are all wearing the classic Chanel jacket. All these characters are shot wearing the Chanel Jacket in a very personal way. Karl himself says that ” this jacket is a vital and irrational impulse which opens the ways to creativity and transformation , especially in the talented hands of a stylist such as Carine Roitfeld.” We are very curious how this theme-book will be received, but we already guess the purchasing decision will rely mainly on the co-authors.
Speaking of Chanel, the latest book about the brand is out. It’s called Chanel: The Vocabulary of Style (62 GBP – Amazon UK) and it’s written by the historian Jérôme Gautier. The author folows the career of Gabrielle Bonheur (Coco) Chanel and presents the evolution of the house Chanel throughout the century. The volume is a visual anthology with hundreds of very old, but also newer photographs made by big names in the fashion photography – Richard Avedon, Gilles Bensimon, Patrick Demarchelier, Horst P. Horst, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn or Ellen von Unwerth.
What Jérôme managed to do successfully was to unite these photos in such a way in which to describe the “Chanel language”, with all its characteristics. We had a look at the contents of the book and discovered that it’s not at all light, there are around 10 chapters dedicated to the freedom of movement and the corset with regards to women’s fashion. The book highlights the evolution of the dresses and more precisely on the LBD and on bringing black as a statement shade in evening outfits, as well as accessorizing with hats and the masculine fashion influences. This refers both to outfits and confort. (A preview here.)
Another interesting read is again a fashion book: Diana Vreeland : The Eye Has To Travel (20 GBP – Amazon UK). She was the editor-in-chief for Harper’s Bazaar during the 1930’s and for over 25 years she stunned the fashion world with her amazing ability to identify trends and elements that were to become the IT thing. Her evolution transcended l’air du temps, but even if her style was influenced by the 60’s and the ’70s, her place at Vogue was the one that inspired so many writers, designers, editors or photographers.
The book shows Diana’s world in over 300 photographs, which make up a sort of geo-diary put together by the wife of her grandson, Lisa Immordini Vreeland. The book will be also made into a movie, a cinematographic project which will join the readers in the journey and career of the editor. The book is a must-read if you want to get into the world of the fashion journalism from the beginning of the century and until now.
Miren Arzalluz’s book is also about a career dedicated to beauty and fashion. Cristobal Balenciaga: The Work of the Master (26 BGP – Amazon UK) is an overview of the way in which Balenciaga managed to rise-high in the haute-couture world. His evolution is presented very detailed and with a lot of pictures which show the designer right in the creative process. This book is more of less the first part of his career, showing the steps before the 1930s. To get more know-how on Balenciaga, take a look at the work of Pierre Arizzoli Clemental or Hamish Bowles, which seize the designer in the middle of his glamorous career starting with the ’50s.
Gucci – The Making Of (29 GBP – Amazon UK) is the book signed by the creative editor of Gucci, Frida Giannini who the 90 years of the existence of the brand. The book was launched at the same time with the opening of the Gucci Museum in Florence and has a lot of behind-the-scenes features, especially because it is written by an insider. I really loved they published fan letters and I discovered a lot of iconic elements which marked the brand and its evolution. Among these there are of course the Gucci loafers, Tom Ford’s impact, logo mania, the Gucci Travel brand extension and the accessory sector. A full book I would say, from which you can learn a lot and understand Gucci much better.
Vogue: The Covers (69 GBP – Amazon UK) is the overview of over a century of magazine covers. Like a history book on its own, the volume shows by chapters all the fashion decades starting with the roaring Twenties and coming up till the recent years. You will be truly inspired by the over 600 covers and illustrations from long ago, not to mention the vintage feel of it all. There is a focus on photographers as well, for instance Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel or Mario Testino and it’s quite interesting to see each of their signature style. Must buy!
Another not-to-be-missed biographical book is The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk wrote by the famous Suzy Menkes and edited by Thierry-Maxime Loriot (34 GBP – Amazon UK). This book comes as a lively retrospective of the same expo from Montreal in 2011 and contains exclusive interviews with the designer and over 500 unpublished photos about the JPG evolution. The book is also loaded with many celebrity looks by Marion Cotillard, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell and many others.