Fashion Books 2020

Now that we may have a bit more time to read, it’s good to look into the most relevant fashion books already published or scheduled to be published later this year.

This blog post features a selection of my favourite ones. It’s definitely a good excuse to take our eyes off our laptop’s screen and learn more about the fashion world from some of the most renowned figures in the industry. Personal memoirs are definitely trendy!



By: André Leon Talley

Publisher: Ballantine Books

This is one of those books that is widely open to interpretation! No one will remain indifferent to this memoir by André Leon Talley, who worked closely with Anna Wintour for many years, and was a decades-long friend with Karl Lagerfeld.

An insider’s viewpoint about the world of fashion and a personal account of the racial discrimination that sadly has been ingrained within the industry, although it’s slowly improving.

Let’s not forget the brilliant work by Edward Enninful, who was born in Ghana and is currently the editor-in-chief of British Vogue.

Leon Talley does not shy away from voicing his opinion, which has generated some degree of controversy within the fashion world. Whether we see it as betrayal or not, he’s definitely one of those rare larger than life characters who manages to sneak in, and find a place in our heart.


By: Nicholas Coleridge

Publisher: Fig Tree

This is another witty personal memoir from the man who became the Mr Big of glossy publishing for three decades, offering a perceptive insight into the changing and treacherous world of fashion and British society as a whole.

Over his thirty-year career at Condé Nast, Nicholas Coleridge has witnessed it all, offering an inside scoop on Anna Wintour, Kate Moss and Beyonce, with relish and astonishing candour.

His career in magazines straddles the glossies throughout their glorious zenith - from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s to the digital iterations of the 21st century.

Packed with surprising and often hilarious anecdotes, The Glossy Years also mentions Diana, the Princess of Wales, and many other familiar figures who crossed his path.


By: Pierre Bergé

Publisher: La Martinière/Abrams

Yves Saint Laurent is a legendary fashion designer and continues to be an ongoing source of fascination. I wrote about Yves Saint Laurent: L'amour fou on my first fashion blog, and let’s not forget his banned Documentary by Oliver Meyrou, released after 18 years, due to legal pressure from Pierre Bergé.

The controversial Saint Laurent’s business and personal partner recalls their life together in Morocco in the form of a personal memoir.

Bergé remembers their arrival in Marrakech in 1966, their first home purchased together, and their exploration of Morocco, in this facsimile of a handwritten leather-bound journal.

This moving, intimate book awakens the past with personal photographs, many published for the first time, and drawings and watercolours by Lawrence Mynott, evoking the magic of Morocco.


By: Karen Elson

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications

Karen Elson is one of those models who always looks amazing on camera. In this book, the British supermodel remembers her childhood in a gritty industrial town in Northern England, and her rise to fame as one of fashion's most unique faces.

With contributions by Tim Walker and Grace Coddington, and accompanied by photographs from Craig McDean, Annie Leibovitz, and Mert and Marcus, this book is a powerful glimpse into the fiery spirit of one of the greatest muses of our time.

At age eighteen, she took the fashion world by storm in a captivating Vogue Italia cover image by Steven Meisel. Since then, she has walked on numerous catwalk shows and starred in countless campaigns.

Karen Elson writes about her evolution as a singer-songwriter, her thoughts on body image and the state of fashion up until the present day.



By: Alexander Vreeland

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications

Diana Vreeland is one of those women that I would love to have worked with. If you ever watched The Eye Has to Travel, a documentary about her, you would understand what I mean, she’s simply fascinating!

Sourced and edited by her grandson Alexander, and brought to life by illustrator Luke Edward Hall, this evocative collection covers Vreeland's incisive views of subjects such as allure, fashion, and style.

It also celebrates the wit, evocative aphorisms and enduring relevance of her strong legacy: "I mean, a new dress doesn't get you anywhere, it's the life you're living in the dress”.

She lived through dreams and imagination while showing leadership and vision, giving us sage advice to live by that remains relevant to this day.


By: Hamish Bowles

Publisher: Abrams

Hamish Bowles is a recognisable figure in the world of fashion, who has been the European editor-at-large for American Vogue since 1995.

He has edited this updated edition, adding the past five years of the Met Costume Institute's exhibitions and galas through the lens of Vogue, including the most visited exhibition in the museum's history - 2018's Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

These are the most prestigious and eagerly awaited occasions in the fashion industry. Sadly the show's opening-night gala, which attracts a glamorous A-list crowd, had to be postponed indefinitely this year, due to the current pandemic.

Each exhibition creates a provocative and engaging narrative, from 2005's Chanel to 2011's Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the MET.


By: Marianne Le Galliard

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications

If you love fashion magazines as much as I do, this book covers the history of Harper’s Bazaar, revered for its contributions to fashion, photography, and graphic design since 1867.

Based on the exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, it traces the magazine's story, starting with the visionary founding editor, Mary Louise Booth.

This book also showcases the work of Glenda Bailey, who has helmed the magazine for the last two decades and is known for commissioning dazzling visual features that frame fashion in the context of contemporary pop culture.

Eminent contributors are also profiled, including Diana Vreeland, Man Ray, Avedon, Truman Capote, and many others. It features groundbreaking work by the greats of fashion photography and designs by fashion luminaries, from Madeleine Vionnet and Cristobal Balenciaga to Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior.



By: Eric Reinhardt

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications

Some of my favourite shoes are by this influential designer, having written about him on my first fashion blog, featuring a previously published book Christian Louboutin: Shoe Artist and the renowned Christian Louboutin's Retrospective (held at the Design Museum in 2012).

This new book offers a glimpse into the mind and creative universe of the man behind the shoes, revealing his influences and references, from Amazonian bird feathers to Kachina dolls, masks and crowns.

Christian Louboutin's signature high stilettos and lacquer-red soles have become true cultural staples and countless celebrities around the world have been photographed wearing them.

Louboutin personally selected exquisite drawings and sketches, which juxtapose against artworks from international museum collections and some of the designer's cherished objects, in tandem with Olivier Gabet, the director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.


By: Stephen Jones

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications

Hats are definitely the ultimate statement accessory and usually take centre stage in the most glamorous events around the world.

Christian Dior himself wrote in his Little Dictionary of Fashion "A hat is essential to any outfit. It completes it. In a way, a hat is the best way to express your personality."

Stephen Jones, one of the most revered milliners of our times, has selected the greatest hats of Dior for this book, published on the occasion of the 2020 exhibition at the Musée Christian Dior in Granville, France.

Celebrating more than seventy years of exquisite hats, Jones's insightful texts are accompanied by drawings and photographs from Dior's archives, shots by famed photographers, such as Richard Avedon, Sir Cecil Beaton, and Craig McDean, and exclusive new images by Sølve Sundsbø.



By: Peter Lindbergh

Publisher: Taschen

This book reveals an intimate personal statement by Lindbergh about his work. Throughout his career, he has published the most captivating photographs in renowned fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Interview.

Lindbergh curated an uncompromising and highly personal collection of more than 150 photographs, many of them unpublished, for a landmark exhibition, now captured on this book.

Untold Stories, at the Düsseldorf Kunstpalast in Germany, was the first-ever exhibition curated by Peter Lindbergh himself, shortly before his untimely death.

Lindbergh challenges his own icons and presents intimate moments shared with personalities who had been close to him for years, including Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Naomi Campbell and many more.



By: Alison Gwilt

Publisher: Bloomsbury Visual Arts

When fashion was forced to stop its operations due to the current pandemic, more and more questions started to emerge about fashion sustainability, not only from customers but also from fashion industry insiders.

Giorgio Armani expressed his discontentment with the overproduction of clothing and Gucci has just announced it will cut the number of fashion shows, in an effort to reduce waste.

This is indeed a timely book, covering key issues associated with the production, use and disposal of fashion clothing. Alison Gwilt gives a step-by-step guidance on how to identify and evaluate the potential impacts of a garment during the design process.

It features innovative examples of best practice from international designers and brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Edun and People Tree. This revised edition suggests new ways forward, such as circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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