Conran / Octopus Books USA
By Julie Neigher Can you imagine life without the flip-flop? Well, before 1962, flip-flops didn't exist. And did you know that a doctor's ankle injury launched a boot -- the eponymous Dr. Marten. And if it hadn't been for former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland's suggestion that Mr. Blahnik try shoe design rather than couture, Carrie Bradshaw would be a very different gal indeed. These are just three of the 50 delightful stories about shoes, designers and their history in "Fifty Shoes That Changed the World." And with a splendid array of photographs featuring some favorite kicks, you'll be inspired to stock your closet with some must-have heels. "Fifty Dresses That Changed the World" is equally essential, but this time it's all about the frocks. Who could forget Elizabeth Hurley in the Versace that adrenalized her career -- the now famous safety pin dress? Or the Mary Quant mini that helped make London the most happening spot of the '60s? You know this book is going to be good when you see Audrey Hepburn perched on the cover in her iconic little black Givenchy from "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Each book costs $20. Hardcover. Conran/Octopus Books USA. Available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders and Urban Outfitters.
SEE MORE GALLERIES