Thursday, March 26, 2015

New and Exciting: My Picks of the Best Spring 2015 Style and Design Books—Part Two

In this new report, we will stroll through beautiful gardens and smell the roses with the esteemed designer Charlotte Moss. We’ll taste ‘Simply Delicious’ classic French cuisine in a practical new paperback cookbook by the great Paul Bocuse. (You may wish to scroll down for Part One, posted last week.)

We’ll tour the best of Scandinavian design—both the modern approach and the truly classic ‘cozy’ style. And we will admire John Singer Sargent and his friends. Oh, and take a quick glance at the new Kazuo Ishiguro work. Yes, I occasionally read fiction.

Come with me for highlights of the new Spring 2015 style and design books—and to take surprising and inspiring look at my new favorites.

Charlotte Moss
is a longtime friend, and admire the way she has forged a fantastic career in the design and style world, designing rooms and fabrics and furniture, and publishing a dozen books, all with her focused and cohesive approach to elegance and design and comfort.

CHARLOTTE MOSS: GARDEN INSPIRATIONS by Charlotte Moss (Rizzoli New York) shows the many ways the garden provides her with inspiration for interiors as well as country landscapes, city terraces, and even window boxes and small balconies. Charlotte’s passions for nature and garden style have led her to study gardens all over the world. I often receive emails from her—from Versailles or the Loire Valley or the South of France or Belgium or deep in the Cotswolds—when she is spending summer weeks studying garden design.

Charlotte notes that this book, her favorite so far, is not a "gardening book" but rather a "book on gardens and ideas.”  Gardens have influenced her decorating, collecting, dining, and style of entertaining. There are serene nooks for relaxing, and ideas for sculpture and decorative objects.

In the “Blossoms & Bouquets” chapter, she shares practical tips on floral creations—from single blossoms to wildflowers, foliage, her beloved roses, and edible arrangements, as well as choosing the perfect container and vase to display them in each room.

For entertaining outdoors, the garden is her setting, and with city dinner parties, luncheons, and teas the garden is her muse. The linens, tablescapes—even the menu—are all touched by her garden ideas and artful concepts.

This is a book to keep in hand when seed and garden catalogs arrive, and when nurseries fill with spring and summer planting. Dreamy images.

John Singer Sergeant has long been one of my favorite portrait painters—for the elegant and stylish way he painted his subjects. In particular, I’ve always been captivated by the many portraits he painted in Venice all with the soft-focus hues of summer heat. Sargent’s portraits and watercolor images of his friends lolling on gondolas bobbing on the Grand Canal in the flickering sun beneath the Rialto Bridge capture the indolence of Venice in August.

A new book, 
SARGENT: PORTRAITS OF ARTISTS AND FRIENDS has recently been published by Rizzoli to coincide with the exhibition through May 25 at the National Portrait Gallery in London and the upcoming show at the Met, New York. Look here for a quizzical Robert Louis Stevenson, and the stunning Eugenia Huci Arguedas de Errazuriz, and exquisite portraits of the children of his clients. These are celebratory portraits—flattering, do doubt—and lively studies of character and costume, place and time. 

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, written by Richard Ormond, one of the foremost authorities on the artist, showcases Sargent’s cosmopolitan career in a new light—through his bold portraits of artists, writers, actors, and musicians, many of them his close friends—giving us a picture of the artist as an intellectual and connoisseur of the music, art, and literature of his day.

Depicted in well-appointed interiors (a palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal is always a good start) or en plein air, the vivid and playful cast of characters includes Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Gabriel Fauré, W. B. Yeats, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Henry James. Many of the sitters for these portraits were his close friends who co-operated with the artist and posed, so Sargent was able to take a more informal, intimate approach.

Note: this show moves from the National Portrait Gallery in London to the Met in New York, opening June 30 on Fifth Avenue. Exciting. This book makes a spectacular guide and study session before attending the show. Watch for a series of paintings of Sargent’s friends in a blissful cluster (and possibly a post-prandial daze) in summer linens amidst a garden. Gorgeous.

Long before there were the wonderful Alain Ducasse and the great Thomas Keller, there was the most influential French chef of all, Paul Bocuse.

It was Bocuse who pulled classic French cuisine in a truly modern direction and called attention to the glories of traditional French cooking, in a new and fresh style. Bocuse is still the eminence grise of everyday French cooking and fine dining—and a new highly inspirational and practical cookbook celebrates his approach.

Paul Bocuse, a leader of the culinary world for more than fifty years, has selected 126 of his favorite recipes for this practical cookbook from Flammarion. 

All the classics are there--and any cook would do well to start at page one, and work through each recipe to master French cooking. Roasting chicken and quail, making tasty tarts and perfecting fish and frisky salads, all techniques are here. Organized into sections by course or main ingredient, ‘PAUL BOCUSE: SIMPLY DELICIOUS’ (Flammarion) offers his take on classics such as French onion soup and quiche Lorraine, beurre blanc and crayfish bisque, roasted monkfish and moules marinière, pepper steak and veal medallions, madeleines and iced cherry soufflé.

It’s like having Bocuse standing in the kitchen with you, offering advice and ideas. His authoritative step-by-step instructions allow the home cook to master a Parmesan soufflé, beef bourguignon with morel cream sauce, or the perfect light strawberry tart. 

This invaluable kitchen reference from the “chef of the century” contains 78 full-page photographs, a detailed index, a comprehensive glossary, and an invaluable advice section to enlighten the beginner and expert alike.

Paul Bocuse was named Chef of the Century by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in 2011. 

I know there are many blogs and website devoted to ‘Scandinavian style’ and most of them present either full-on fifties and sixties Danish modern, or that dreamy white-on-white décor of bare wood floors and simple white sofas and chairs with white sheepskins.

But in reality there is no one look, no one approach that exemplifies ‘Scandinavian style’.

In major cities of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark interiors are more likely to look ‘cozy’ with frilled curtains, candles in the window and Josef Frank floral prints on sofas. In the country and on islands of the archipelago, the look is a simple weekend cabin with family heirlooms and duvet-draped beds.

These looks and many others are presented strongly in the new book from teNeues, LIVING IN 
STYLE SCANDINAVIA which takes readers on a tour of rooms in the all-white spectrum, as well as farmhouse interiors and city digs with graphic prints and colorful glass collections. There are enchanted island cottages (open in summer only), as well as city apartments and country houses in traditional styles deeply connected with nature.

The book offers a refresher course on Scandinavian styles, and for me it was inspiration to plan a trip to Sweden as soon as possible.


All images here are used with express permission of the publishers, Rizzoli, Flammarion and teNeues. With thanks and appreciation.

1 comment:

Karena said...

Dear Diane,
There is such a stunning group of spring book releases. Thank you for featuring some of my favorites!!

The Arts by Karena