Holiday gifts: 9 fashion and style books for your favorite fashionista
Here’s our list of stylish books to give as presents this season.
“John Galliano for Dior”
By Robert Fairer
During the 15 years John Galliano spent designing for Christian Dior, photographer Robert Fairer was perched along the runway documenting the outsized creations that strolled past. This big book flaunts Fairer’s full-bleed photos that capture Galliano’s Dior shows from 1998 to 2010. Like many creatives at the time, Galliano’s late-'90s pieces remixed and recycled, distilling 1,000 years of creativity into multifarious visions fit for the end of the millennium. In the iPod Shuffle age of the early 2000s, Galliano’s designs went further, shoring disparate influences into a mix-and-match aesthetic, referencing everything from Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich to “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Thames & Hudson, 432 pages, $160. amazon.com
By Mary Wilson
The Supremes showed the power of threes. When the Motown originals — Florence Ballard, Diana Ross and Mary Wilson — took the stage, their voices came together as one. These powerful performances made them one of the most successful girl groups of all time. Together the trio’s look compounded the unifying effect, each clad in identical sequins and feathers. “In time our dazzling gowns became as famous as our Motown hits,” Wilson writes in this photo book that charts how the kohl-eyed group’s sartorial evolution mirrored — or perhaps led — styles of the times, everything from go-go boots to hot pants and pantsuits. Thames & Hudson, 240 pages, $40. amazon.com
“The Sartorialist. India”
By Scott Schuman
When photographer Scott Schuman was invited to shoot high-end fashion events in India, he found little inspiration in the auspices of couture. Instead, he looked to a venue more familiar to him: the streets. The influential street-style chronicler behind prototypical fashion blog the Sartorialist turned his camera toward the everyday looks of people throughout the region. Traveling through Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi, his photographs capture candid moments of public life and personal style. However, it’s in his stop-and-shoot portraits of people on the streets that he humanizes his subjects instead of objectifying them; Schuman snaps glimpses of their personality in each gaze, lean and pose. Taschen, 300 pages, $70. amazon.com
“Born to Party, Forced to Work”
By Bronson Van Wyck
Since Bronson Van Wyck started his event company in 1999 with his mother, the New York party king has thrown legendary galas for such figures including Sean Combs and Beyoncé. This golden-covered book doesn’t only give an exclusive look at his most lavish bashes; it also provides party tips he’s learned along the way, no matter what your budget may be. “The act of breaking bread can always be made better in some way — even a simple plate under a Big Mac, a playlist you love … can mean you are adding a touch of extra care that makes your guests understand you want to show your appreciation.” Phaidon, 256 pages, $79.95. amazon.com
By Rick Owens and Danielle Levitt
Taking cues from the underground — black leather and nylon — Rick Owens transcends genres like athleisure and casual wear, creating boundary-breaking works that can sometimes double as wearable sculpture. Obliterating the silhouette that typically slinks down the catwalk, Owens’ pieces also reflect multivalent body types. It’s a beautiful ambiguity embodied by the bicultural designer, who was raised in Porterville, Calif., but forged in the L.A. fashion world. Owens, who calls Paris home, found a kindred spirit in photographer Danielle Levitt, whose crisp images inhabit the pages of the book. “I had seen her interest in subcultures and alternative families,” Owens writes, “from teenage wolf packs … to senior burlesque performers and radical faeries.” Rizzoli, 200 pages, $55. amazon.com
“Hunks & Heroes: Four Decades of Fashion at GQ”
By Jim Moore
When GQ’s creative director Jim Moore first sketched out a book culled from his decades at the magazine, he went through every photo from every issue he worked on. “I was responsible for over 30,000 images over 40 years and I chose about 1,700 that I wanted to include, that were my favorites.” He edited further, creating a photographic compendium of his career dressing men at work and play. Kanye West, in a conversation with Moore, sums up his cultural influence: “You see it in that moment in ‘American Psycho’ where the two letters GQ are used to express if a man had taste or not. The way people would say, ‘That’s very GQ.’ That’s iconography!” Rizzoli, 352 pages, $75. amazon.com
“Craig McDean: Manual”
By Craig McDean
Long before he became an award-winning fashion photographer, Craig McDean was a mechanic in Middlewich, his small hometown in northwestern England. His latest photo book ruminates on his roughneck past and his artful present, photographing the glamorous creations of big names in fashion. Pairing images of speeding race cars and chrome engines with vibrantly adorned models makes for an unexpectedly interesting experiment. In this look-book-styled tome, there is a dialogue between the human body and machines; after all, we often see humanity reflected in the shape of a headlight or the curve of a fender. McDean celebrates the design of both. Rizzoli, 208 pages, $115. amazon.com
“Legaspi: Larry Legaspi, the ’70s, and the Future of Fashion”
By Rick Owens
Blending Afrofuturism and a sci-fi aesthetic, Larry Legaspi’s spaced-out silver-and-leather styles dominated the 1970s music scene, glamming up funk stars including George Clinton and Parliament as well as disco-era queen Patti LaBelle. This comprehensive photo book — with text by Rick Owens — displays the genesis of Legaspi’s otherworldly oeuvre, including his most gripping works: the interstellar superhero costumes for rock band KISS. Rizzoli, 144 pages, $75. amazon.com
“Fabien Baron: Works 1983-2019”
By Fabien Baron
French art director-designer Fabien Baron is a creative powerhouse. He worked at Harper’s Bazaar and Italian Vogue, was the creative director for Calvin Klein for 20 years and designed Madonna’s infamous “Sex” book in 1992. In this heavyweight book, with text by author Adam Gopnik, we dive deep into the fashion shoots, magazine spreads and graphic design that originated from Baron’s peripatetic mind, where every detail — from typography to styling — is carefully considered. In the intro to the book, Kate Moss, whom Baron introduced to Klein, encapsulates the spirit of the polymath: “He makes magic happen.” Phaidon, 424 pages, $200. amazon.com
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