In lieu of the prolific seasonal gift guide I thought I would post a bit of a guide to fashionable books for Christmas. I’ve always been an avid reader but it was always the extra special books that were saved for Christmas – the festive season has always been synonymous with reading for me, with the morning of Christmas Day usually spent curled up with a beautiful new book. Here’s a run-down of the stylish tomes that fashion fanatics will enjoy this festive season and beyond.
Grace, Grace Coddington (Chato & Windsum, £23)
Fashion legend Grace Coddington’s hotly anticipated tell-all memoir, ‘Grace’, provides an insider perspective on the Vogue creative director’s prolific career from model to fashion heroine. Accompanied by striking imagery (vintage pictures and Grace’s own line drawings), the book offers a revealing insight into Grace’s world and her unwavering visual instinct, including the truth about her relationship with Vogue editrix Anna Wintour, and the magic that makes her wildly imaginative spreads so iconic.
Love Looks Not with the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen, Anne Deniau (Abrams, £29.99)
Fashion photographer Anne Deniau’s homage to leading fashion designer Lee McQueen offers an inspiring insight into the designer and his work. As the only photographer allowed backstage with McQueen, documenting twenty-six of his fantastical shows, Deniau captured the visionary at work and conveys the sheer intensity of these spectacles. In this unique collection of previously unseen photographs Deniau records McQueen working with his closest collaborators, including Sarah Burton, milliner Philip Treacy, jewellery designer Shaun Leane and model Kate Moss.
The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited, Karl Lagerfeld, Carine Roitfeld (Steidl, £45)
Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld has teamed up with former Vogue Paris Editor Carine Roitfeld to celebrate Chanel’s iconic Little Black Jacket. The tome accompanying the touring exhibition features photographs of the classic garment throughout the ages as well as stunning images of famous figures wearing the jacket, styled by Roitfeld and photographed by Lagerfeld. I’ve been itching to get my hands on this book since I saw the Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition back in October.
Tim Walker: Story Teller, Tim Walker and Ruth Ansel (Thames & Hudson, £45)
Renowned British fashion photographer Tim Walker’s images are the stuff of fairy tales, romantic and enchanting in equal measure. Walker’s whimsical photography has graced the glossy pages of Vogue for over a decade, and won him many high profile fans as well as subjects. His work is currently being celebrated with an exhibition at London’s Somerset House, ‘Tim Walker: Storyteller’. This book accompanies the exhibition, which features 175 of Walker’s images alongside the photographer’s personal observations and many of his extravagant props.
Kate: The Kate Moss book, Kate Moss, Edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack (Rizzoli, £45)
The highly anticipated Kate Moss book conveys a personal perspective of Moss’ career and transformation from teenage model ‘new girl with potential’ into a global icon and one of fashion’s greatest muses. The retrospective is set to become a collector’s item, featuring eight different covers shot by Mario Testino, Corinne Day, Mert & Marcus, David Sims, Inez & Vinoodh, Craig McDean, Mario Sorrenti and Juergen Teller. The text has been produced by Moss herself, edited by Dazed & Confused editor (and Kate’s former lover), Jefferson Hack and illustrated with images chosen by Moss spanning her entire career as well as never-seen-before images from her own archive.
How One Man Changed the World with a Pair of Scissors, Vidal Sasson with Micheal Gordon (Rizzoli New York, £30)
This book tells the fascinating story of visionary hairdresser and style revolutionary Vidal Sassoon. The hairstylist was a key instrument of change during the 1960s: his iconic unisex, low-maintenance haircuts represented liberation from the constraints of class and gender. His iconic haircuts were popular with tastemakers of the day such as Grace Coddington and Mia Farrow, and transformed the ideal of feminine beauty. The book combines memoirs documenting the life of the iconic hairstylist, including recollections by Sassoon and members of his artistic circle such as David Bailey and Mary Quant, alongside personal snapshots and fashion photography.
Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, Anna Wintour and Condé Nast Publications (Abrams, £25)
This special publication, accompanying the documentary of the same name (yet to air in the UK), celebrates the 120th anniversary of Vogue. The book documents the magazine’s iconic past, charting the publication’s aesthetic choices and the resulting images that have changed the face of fashion and its perception from within and outside the industry. This unique, behind-the-scenes perspective gives unparalleled access to the models, photographers, stylists and editors behind the publication and the show-stopping and influential images they create. The book focuses in particular on the often unseen role of the fashion editor in creating these images.
Masters of Fashion Illustration, David Downton (Laurence King Publishing, £17.95)
This beautifully illustrated, carefully designed book by leading fashion illustrator David Downton celebrates the spectacular work of the great twentieth century fashion illustrators, from social portraitist Giovanni Boldini to creator of ’80s New Wave glamour, Tony Viramontes. The compilation also includes a selection of Downton’s contemporary work including drawings from Paris Haute Couture and portraits of modern-day icons such as Erin O’Connor and Dita von Teese. This text goes to show that the often neglected art of fashion illustration is very much alive and kicking.