The 12 Best Coffee Table Books on Fashion : Part I

 

Nothing screams chic like a well appointed coffee table brimming with the likes of Chanel, Gucci and Manolo Blahnik. Here, the first 4 of 12  fashion coffee table books that will up your couture quotient.

Grace Coddington Book Reign Colorado Magazine

Grace: A Memoir

Grace Coddington, $35, barnesandnoble.com

Vogue creative director Grace Coddington was fashion’s best kept secret until the release of the 2009 documentary The September Issue, where the talented siren rose to reluctant fame seemingly overnight. Yet an overnight sensation Ms. Coddington was anything but. This witty, spot-on memoir chronicles her 40+ year career in fashion. Having begun as a model herself, followed by a leap to the editorial side at British Vogue before her eventual (and indelible) post at American Vogue, Coddington is perhaps fashion’s most experienced and important eye. In her compelling tome, she regales stories of the designers, models and artists who have helped shape her unforgettable images over the years. As inspired  as the stylist’s countless pictorials we have perused for so many years, Grace is both enjoyable and unforgettable, culminating in a well written characterization of the stylist’s long and loyal relationship with Anna Wintour.

“If Wintour is the Pope . . . Coddington is Michelangelo, trying to paint a fresh version of the Sistine Chapel twelve times a year.”—Time

Chanel and Her World Book Reign Denver Magazine Chanel and her world: Friends, Fashion, and Fame

Edmonde Charles-Roux, $65, amazon.com

Many a book has been written about one Ms. Gabrielle Chanel (Coco to most), but none as intriguing and accurate as this volume by Charles-Roux, Chanel’s official biographer. As one of her closest confidantes, the author opens up a world previously unknown to the public, showcasing an impressive array of photos that span the icon’s entire existence. As the woman who introduced pants, costume jewelry and the suit to the female population, Coco Chanel’s story is fraught with both a colorful history and prose as lively as the designer herself. The book follows her unforgettable collaborations with the likes of  Picasso, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Jean Renoir, and Visconti in addition to depicting hundreds of stunning illustrations that are quintessentially Chanel.

“There have been many books about Chanel, but this is the great classic.” – Art of the Times

gucci-the-making-of-book reign magazine

Gucci: The Making Of

Frieda Giannini, $240, gucci.com

Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini  has managed to encapsulate 90 years of motley fashion history into 384 glamorous pages in this luxe account of the world’s most luxe label. Essays, images and anecdotes dot the book with unabashed panache and a chic sophistication. Yet far more than pretty pictures, the book reveals the history, influence and impact that the fashion house has had on the world for the better part of a century. First published in 2011 in conjunction with the opening of Florence’s Gucci Museum, Gucci: The Making Of is exactly what one would hope – timeless, gorgeous and just a little over-the-top.

“The definitive guide to the world’s most luxury-obsessed design empire.” – Black Book

The IMpossible Collection of fashion Reign Magazine

The Impossible Collection of Fashion

Valerie Steele, $695, assouline.com

While it may not require a PhD from Yale to appreciate high fashion, Valerie Steele has one all the same. Known and beloved as “fashion’s brainiest woman,” Steele is the director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology  and has helmed more than 20 of the world’s most important fashion exhibits in the past decade alone. In The Impossible Collection of Fashion, she brilliantly displays her curatorial genius through the selection of 100 dresses that caused a stir, ultimately inspiring a new direction in fashion.

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress. Dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” – Coco Chanel
lexes her curatorial muscle. From Poiret to Pucci, Doucet to Dior, Vionnet to Valentino, she selects the 100 dresses that caused a stir on the runway or as they entered a room and ultimately inspired a new direction in fashion. Steele’s selections include Fortuny’s streamlined Delphos gown circa 1907, Madame Grès’s sublimely draped goddess creations from 1938, Issey Miyake’s 1982 evening ensemble with a rattan top that appeared on the cover of ArtForum, and Hussein Chalayan’s awe-inspiring table skirt from 2000. The collection, while certainly subjective, is sure to receive nods of recognition, along with a gasp (or two) of surprise. – See more at: http://www.assouline.com/9781614280163.html#sthash.rroIYCHj.dpuf
director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology – See more at: http://www.assouline.com/9781614280163.html#sthash.rroIYCHj.dpuf