Fashion book report: This season’s best reads cataloguing behind the scenes shoots and style inspiration
Fashion today is a source of light entertainment – you just have to look at its popularity on social media for confirmation. But if that’s too fleeting a medium to allow you to get up close and personal with the worlds of high profile designers, photographers and models, look instead to literature for a more permanent celebration.
Grown-up colouring books remain on trend: Yves Saint Laurent Colouring Book from the Federation Pierre Berge (£9.99, Arsenal Pulp Press) and Vintage Vogue by Iain R Webb (£7.99, Octopus Publishing) are two with a particular focus on fashion rather than abstract patterns or anything more flowery.
Coinciding with the V&A’s Undressed exhibition is the left-field but visually compelling tome Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster (£50, The London Stereoscopic Company). It documents the oversized underskirt in seriously thorough archive sketches and stereoscopic imagery accompanied by a special 3D viewer.
Epiphany by Ari Marcopoulos (£45, Idea Books) captures the world of Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele
Staying on the subject of smalls, swimwear season is fast approaching and The Bikini: A Cultural History by Patrik Alac explores how the two-piece became de rigueur and in the process charts our relationship with women’s bodies and recreational activities over the last century (£25, Parkstone Press).
Focusing on the silhouette of avant-garde designers Fashion Game Changers is a great resource for those who are inspired by the experimental side of fashion thanks to contributions from renowned academics including Olivier Saillard, and inside takes from the women who actually wore it (£25, Bloomsbury).
Suzy Menkes and Katie Grand are two of the most formidable forces in the fashion industry: Behind The Runway features contributions from both in an introduction to Matt Lever’s captivating backstage images (£30, Roads Publishing).
Naomi Cambell’s new book (£450, Taschen)
There is no doubt that Gucci is having a serious fashion moment, thanks to creative director Alessandro Michele but, if a pair of horsebit loafers remains out of reach, perhaps Epiphany – a monograph of Michele’s world captured by photographer Ari Marcopoulos – will be more attainable. Published in a limited run of 1,000 copies it will no doubt become a collector’s item in the future (£45, IDEA Books, available in UK from July on ideanow.online).
And last but certainly not least is Naomi Campbell who has released a limited edition monograph of her career with artwork by Allen Jones and images from over 100 photographers (Naomi Campbell, £450, Taschen). It’s a real investment title, but it would be foolish to expect anything less from the singular supermodel.