I seem to buy more books and clothes these days. Not that I have anywhere to put them but they offer the perfect respite to the Mac or phone screen. Admittedly I’m more of a reference book girl than a novel-reader, I just don’t have the attention span for fiction and I always seem to be researching something.
Books I have and love
Amber Jane Butchart’s The Fashion of Film rounds up film’s enduring influence on fashion, with a historian’s attention to detail and narrative. I like the educational mix of well known films (A Bout de Souffle, Grey Gardens) with more unfamiliar titles (to me anyway), although the fashion focus tends heavily towards catwalk rather than street or other egalitarian fashion.
I rarely cook but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a cook book. Indian Made Easy by my friend Amandip Uppal (below) serves up classics like chicken korma and simple feasts like warm eggplant salad (which I’ll definitely be attempting), alongside moreish snacks of spiced nuts and bhel puri. The visual detail in this book is sublime with lush photography, charming illustrations and whimsical in-jokes on every page.
Currently on my nightstand is Then Again by Diane Keaton. It’s an unusual sort of autobiography, skipping from telling her own story to her mother’s, retold via her ma’s vast collection of scrapbooks and journals. Rereading the journals was Keaton’s way of getting to know her mother after she died from Alzheimers. It’s a cracking read and Keaton knows how to keep the pages turning.
Grace – The American Vogue Years by Grace Coddington (top and below) is pure eye candy. There seems to be an influx of coffee table books by formerly behind the scenes types and this is the third from ex-US Vogue fashion director Coddington. This heavyweight volume focuses on the American Vogue years, reproducing lavish editorials alongside tidbits of anecdotes that set the scene and give a little insight into the fashion editor’s process.
Books I didn’t think I’d love but do
Fashion Quotes – Stylish Wit and Catwalk Wisdom by Patrick Mauries & Jean-Christophe Napias is a gift for fashion writers. If you’re ever stuck for the beginning (or ending, or middle) of a feature, stick a quote in there. This book has everything, from greats like Oscar Wilde and Edith Sitwell to contemporary wits such as Fran Leibowitz. It’s especially useful for sticklers like me who remember the quote but not the exact wording, or who said them. And if you just need inspiration, flick through this little gem and it will ignite that creative spark in an instant.
Books I want
Another US Vogue veteran, Phyllis Posnick is a sittings editor whose work with the likes of Helmut Newton and Irving Penn is the stuff of legend. We’re saturated with imagery 24/7 these days, but her book, Stoppers is filled with iconic shoots that demand your attention for longer than a few seconds. Read the story behind Helmut Newton’s chicken in high heels here…
I’m more than a little obsessed with books on café society, I can’t think of anything more fabulous that hanging out with the likes of Coco Chanel and Jean Cocteau in 1930s Paris. Documenting it all was the impeccably connected Baron De Cabrol whose scrapbooks recall the colour and vivacity of all the characters of the time. I can’t wait to devour Beautiful People of the Cafe Society: Scrapbooks by the Baron De Cabrol by Baron de Cabrol and Thierry Coudet (below).
Every year sees a slew of Dior books, this time it’s the turn of beauty with Dior The Art of Color by Jerry Stafford (below). Documenting the artistry of Dior make up maestros Peter Phillips, Tyen and Serge Lutens, the chapters are arranged by colour including ad campaigns, the influence of art, and the work of master photographers such as Irving Penn, Guy Bourdin, and Richard Burbridge.
WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
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