The Fashionista’s book shelf

Last week I touched upon the Sex & The City 2 lookbook. A must-have for the style-conscious or any fan of the show. This week, I’m sticking to the books and bringing you the top ten books no fashionista should be without.

1. The Little Black Book of Style – Nina Garcia

Most famous for her judging stint on Project Runway, Nina Garcia is a strong presence in the fashion industry. Having worked for both Elle and Marie Claire magazine, this Colombian-born fashion editor has put together a manual on how to discover your own personal style. She’s a firm believer that whatever you wear should assert your personality. Therefore it’s essential to ensure your correct identity is relayed through your clothes.  Filled with tips to avoid fashion’s faux pas, dressing for different occasions and codes, archiving your clothes, and how to achieve your signature style, this is the basics made easy.

2. Chanel: Collections and Creations – Daniele Bott

This stunning book showcases all the beautiful things that make Chanel one of the most coveted names in fashion. This exquisite collection of photographs and essays are divided into the five central themes of Chanel – the suit, the Camellia, jewellery, make-up and fragrances. Also included are vintage Chanel advertisements and private photographs of Coco Chanel.

3. Fashion Babylon – Imogen Edward-Jones

This witty insight into the fashion industry is a must-read. Even if you’re not interested in fashion, this will change all your perceptions of it. Written by Edward-Jones along with anonymous (several key people in the industry who cannot be named for legal reasons) it is filled with gossip, sex, drugs and most importantly clothes. You’ll learn who has the ability to make a bag an It Bag, how designers “find” inspiration and why so many fashion houses don’t cater for the larger woman. This is one book you will not put down.

4. People in Vogue: A Century of Portraits – Robin Derrick and Robin Muir

This book is a photographic history of British Vogue. Edited by its Creative Director, Derrick and former picture editor, Muir, this collection houses 350-plus photographs f artists, actors, politicians, models, royals and celebrities. All pictures are accompanied by stories, some of which have never been revealed before. Included in the book are a young Queen Elizabeth, Picasso, Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers, Vivian Leigh and Maria Callas.

5. Dior – Farid Chenoune

Released in conjunction with the house’s 60th anniversary, Dior presented a 400 page memoir that showcased the ambiance, creativity and fashion of the brand. The book contains 150 dresses, 300 illustrations, press reviews, texts from Yves Saint Laurent to John Galliano and fashion editorials.

6. The Sartorialist – ScottSchuman

The Sartorialist is one of the world’s most popular street-style blogs and has been credited with turning that type of photography into an art form. Schuman created the blog to show the varied yet amazing styles of real people and in this anthology he showcases his favourite shots from around the world. Although the book features some fashion cameos including Carine Roitfeld, Joe Zee and Kate Lanphear, at its heart is about the real people. It’s a great insight into how style is interpreted by different people, not to mention full of inspiration for those I-have-nothing-to-wear moments.

7. The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion – Metropolitan Museum of Art

Based on the exhibition held a few years ago, MAM delves into the relationships between fashion brands/designers and the models that make them. Starting from the birth of the model, the book focuses its attention on the various and ever-changing models that were chosen to represent some of the most prestigious brands throughout the decades. Featuring Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, this book is a great evolutionary tale.

8. Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion, Architecture – Simon Castets

This book tracks the fashion house’s collaborations with artists, architects, designers and photographers and how they became the definite luxury brand. The three-part book examines the brand’s history, patronage and evolution. It pays lots of attention to its collaborations with an elite group of creatives including David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Stephen Sprouse and Jun Aoki.

9. The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger

Before the movie, came the book. This narrative is based on Weisberger’s personal account of her time as an assistant at Vogue to a certain Miss Wintour. While the movie is great, the book is a must as it gives more insight (at times funny, others sad) into the magazine and fashion industry.

10. The One Hundred – Nina Garcia

After advising on how to develop your own personal style, Garcia goes one step further with her next book. The One Hundred is a guide to fashion’s timeless pieces. These 100 items are regarded as pivotal for every woman when developing their signature style. Also included are illustrations by Ruben Toledo, the history of the items and Garcia’s preferred stockists.

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