5 Necessary Summer Fashion Reads

Bury your nose in these books about the fashion industry.
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Bury your nose in these books about the fashion industry.
Lily Cole, a model reader. Photo: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Lily Cole, a model reader. Photo: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Every summer I promise myself I'm going to read a new book, and every summer I get halfway through one, grow tired of carrying it on the subway and ditch it in favor of reading the New Yorker on my phone. In an effort to change my ways, I scoured the Internet for five books about the fashion industry that are impossible to put down

What I found were biographies, tell-alls and untold histories worth schlepping in your purse (or beach bag). Find them below and happy reading!

"D.V." by Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland's talents as an editor are well known, but her witty, irreverent writing doesn't often get the acclaim it deserves. The former Vogue Editor-in-Chief tells it like it is in this memoir-meets-fashion-history-lesson.

"Ugly Beauty: Helena Rubinstein, L'Oréal, and the Blemished History of Looking Good" by Ruth Brandon

Cultural historian Ruth Brandon delves deep into the origins of Helena Rubenstein's cosmetics brand and of L'Oréal in the early 20th century. Brandon draws contrasts between Rubenstein's Jewish-owned business that employed women full-time and L'Oréal's, which was run by Eugéne Schueller, a conservative Nazi collaborator. The book paints a dark picture of how some of our most beloved beauty products were born. 

"Chic Savages" by John Fairchild

John Fairchild (the publisher and editor-in-chief of WWD from 1960 to 1996 and the founding editor of W) dishes on his life in fashion in this funny and satirical memoir. If you work in fashion and frequently roll your eyes at the ridiculousness around you, this is the book for you. 

"Scenes From A Fashionable World" by Kennedy Fraser

As the New Yorker's resident fashion critic, Fraser covered the industry on a weekly basis and her second book delves into her world. It's intelligent, expertly-written and gives an insightful look into what the fashion world used to be. 

"Shocking Life" by Elsa Schiaparelli

I spent the majority of my senior year of high school parsing through this autobiography for my thesis project and can confirm it's a trip. Schiap's life in the Surrealist scene of '30s Paris is as outrageous as her designs, even if some of the details are seen through rose-colored glasses. It is an autobiography after all.