Fashion and haute couture books for your coffee table, the ideal Christmas gift
From a sneakers anthology to behind the scene photographs of Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel years, here is an edgy selection of fine books that will make the ideal gift for fashion enthusiasts.
Karl Lagerfeld Unseen: the Chanel Years by Robert Fairer
An intimate portrait of German designer Karl Lagerfeld, captured by British journalist Robert Fairer and published in English by Abrams Books. Through some 250 photographs, Fairer has immortalised Lagerfeld's 36-year reign as the creative director of Chanel. Readers will spend a day in the haute couture designer’s atelier, where he used to work night and day, heedless of the time, bolstered by Diet Coke and the company of his beloved cat Choupette. Fitting sessions in Chanel’s rue Cambon atelier and catwalk shows with their melange of golden chains and padded bags feature in the book, a backstage peek at the unseen world of Karl Lagerfeld, a designer epitomised since 1976 by his legendary ponytail, sunglasses with lenses for his myopia, and signature fingerless gloves. The book was published on November 82022, and is priced at $85.
Louis Vuitton: Virgil Abloh by Christian Madsen (Assouline)
Eight chapters to relive the eight runway shows staged by designer Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton. Madsen recalls that Illinois-born Abloh, who grew up steeped in hip-hop culture and his Ghanaian roots, had a sound mixer in his design studio, and regarded himself as an infiltrator within haute couture. His joining Louis Vuitton in 2018 as menswear creative director was synonymous with a new and more inclusive era in the luxury sector. Madsen’s intimate portrait of Abloh brims with references to his creations (like the rather baroque golden Air Force 1 sneakers) and anecdotes from his entourage, and is yet another tribute to this visionary designer who passed away on November 28 2021.
The book was published on September 15 and is available on Assouline’s e-shop, priced at €120 for the classic version and €1,200 for the premium version (English translation available).
19 regards sur la mode by IFM faculty members (Editions du Regard)
Understanding how to reconcile fashion and sustainable development, how artisanal labels have turned into empires, and how markets are diversifying: a group of 20 teachers and researchers from the French Fashion Institute (IFM) has laid bare the contemporary issues facing the ready-to-wear and luxury sectors, analysing them from the economics, marketing, art history and philosophy perspectives. The book unpacks the changes taking place in fashion, from ubiquitous digitalisation to the way in which design is transforming, under pressure from environmental issues. 19 regards sur la mode is an anthology written by IFM faculty members that charts the industry’s recent changes and developments and, from a more anthropological viewpoint, the new ways of consuming fashion in a post-pandemic world.
The book was launched on September 12 and is available in bookshops and on the IFM website, priced at €24 (English translation available).
Sneakers Obsession by Alexandre Pauwels/kikikickz (Flammarion)
From items of sport footwear in the 20th century, sneakers have metamorphosed into essential ingredients for completing looks, or adding new twists to them. As shown by the myriad collaborations between sportswear brands, luxury labels and influencers that have been dropped in 2022. From the first canvas sneakers introduced in 1917 by market pioneer Converse, to the business model of serial, frustration-generating drops, journalist Alexandre Pauwels of French resale website Kikikickz has analysed the passion, codes and players of the sneakers world.
The book was published on October 19, and is priced at $25.
Claquette-chaussette et corset, 60 objets qui font la mode by Mathilde Berthier and Céline Cabourg (La Martinière)
With citations from Pierre Bourdieu and from Jacquemus runway shows advocating a genuine return to our inner selves, with images of sweatshirt-clad French president Macron editing his notes, and examples of the Americanisation of European wardrobes, this book is a sociological and anthropological vocabulary of contemporary ways of dressing and giving life to clothes. Ways characterised by the osmosis of stylistic codes and the see-sawing fortunes of, for example, the corset, featured in the Renaissance and in haute couture, and of evergreen streetwear looks like the socks and sandals combo. Mathilde Berthier and Céline Cabourg have exposed the porosity between styles and genres, painting the picture of a globalised fashion world that ignores status and class boundaries.
The book was published on October 14 2022, and is available in bookshops priced at €37.50.
Valentino Rosso by Charlie Porter (Assouline)
A bright, vibrant poppy-red hue. British fashion journalist Charlie Porter has delved into 50 years of archive records to describe the passionate relationship Italian label Valentino has always had with this colour. His book is a monochromatic catalogue of 180 dresses and accessories, some of them veering towards Pink PP, the fuchsia pink hue concocted by the label's current creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli. From the legendary draped silhouettes designed by Valentino Garavani to the “Roman Stud” studded haute couture ballerinas, the luxury label has celebrated its iconic colour, which replicates the deep red beloved of Spanish painter Diego Velazquez.
The book was published on October 28 and is available on Assouline’s e-shop priced at €250.
All About Yves by Catherine Örmen (published in English by Laurence King Publishing)
The book is a journey through the life of Yves Saint Laurent, from his muses Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise to his meeting with art lover Pierre Bergé at Parisian bistro La Cloche d'Or, describing the genesis of Saint Laurent’s eponymous label. In the book’s 128 pages, fashion historian Örmen takes the reader into the world of Saint Laurent’s creativity, with preparatory sketches, sample archives and sketches of the outfits he designed for his shows with Dior. Örmen has documented the famous French couturier’s passion for black, the fetish colour of his dinner jacket that liberated women's bodies in 1966, but also for the kaleidoscope of colours in the Villa Majorelle garden, which inspired Saint Laurent for his caftans and the embroidered cape called Bougainvilliers.
The book was published on October 19, and is priced at $60.
H/And by Anne de Vandière (published in French by Editions Intervalles)
Journalist Anne de Vandière has a keen interest in fashion designers, couturiers and fashion industry names, the likes of Adeline André, Christian Louboutin and Elie Saab. She has photographed their hands using conventional film, creating a portrait gallery of hands in a book called H/And. For Cameroonian designer Imane Ayissi, touching fabric is a mystical gesture that gives birth to a garment, while for Christelle Kocher, who symbolically removes her lucky star ring to work, fingers reflect the determination and confidence she has acquired with age. Featuring anecdotes and childhood memories shared by celebrities from the worlds of fashion, cuisine and the arts, this book invites us to rethink our intimate relationship with hands.
The book was published November 4, and is available in bookshops priced at €59.
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