Some of you are just back to school and some of us are sadly done with school for good but we remember how fun it was to gather all your required back-to-school reading and dive in (okay, we were nerds). So in the spirit of the back-to-school reading list, we've put together a list of some awesome, essential, fashion reading. There are some really beautiful and important fashion books out recently and they are worth investing in. And that means actually going and buying the hardcover versions because these books are filled with Karl Lagerfeld illustrations, Diana Vreeland-styled editorials, and more really good stuff. Stuff not to be wasted on an e-reader.
Click through to see your required reading. Don't skim! There will be a quiz!
Chanel - Her Life (Steidl, $58) by Justine Picardie with drawings by Karl Lagerfeld.
This new biography of the inimitable Coco Chanel is being billed as the definitive biography of Mlle Chanel for good reason. The author, Justine Picardie, was granted access to the Chanel archives, and is the first biographer to have had access to private archives in the UK and France. The book examines Gabrielle--the real Chanel, and her private life--as well as her fashion empire. There are loads of black and white photos of the legendary designer that paint her in a different light--she's fishing, riding horses, and shooting guns--but the best images are the hand drawn sketches by Karl Lagerfeld himself.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (Abrams, $55) by Lisa Immordino Vreeland.
A new fashion coffee table staple, this glossy tome tracks Vreeland's extensive and influential fashion career through her work. That means the pages are filled with gorgeous examples of editorials styled by Vreeland and shot by famed fashion photogs like Irving Penn and Richard Avedon to name a few. And, yes, the author is obviously connected to Vreeland--she married to her grandson--so that can't have hurt in putting together a comprehensive look and this legendary editrix's life.
Barneys feted the book last week, and we chatted with Simon Doonan, the retailer's creative-ambassador-at-large, to get his take on his former employer. Yes, Doonan worked for Vreeland when she was at the Met's Costume Institute. "Working with her was just mind-blowing," he said. "She was such a talented, extraordinary person, and eccentric and full of mad ideas...she was a provocateur. Had she been younger she would have been a punk rocker." More details, please, we pleaded. "If the mannequins were a bit gawky she’d say, 'They look like they’re waiting in line at Gristedes!'" Doonan added (and we were satisfied).
Daphne Guinness (Yale University Press, $45) by Valerie Steele.
Steele, the director and chief curator of the Museum at FIT, wrote this book to accompany the FIT exhibit showcasing 100 pieces from Daphne Guinness' incredible couture collection (which is open now). The book isn't out until October 25 but Racked found out that it's available now in Europe. So, you know, if you want to hop on a plane--it's yours.
The Rise of Fashion and Lessons Learned at Bergdorf Goodman (Fairchild Books, $32.50) by Ira Neimark.
Ira Neimark was the CEO of Bergdorf Goodman for 17 years and has spent nearly five decades in the fashion industry so expect a true insider look at what went on behind the scenes at Bergdorf's during his reign (1975 to 1992). The book is packed with photos and tales of parties and glamorous encounters with folks like Jackie O., Yves Saint Laurent and Princess Diana. It's not out until October 18 but it's already been blurbed by Calvin Klein and Michael Kors which bodes well.