Monday, September 12, 2016

My Ninth Annual Listing: Best and Most Exciting New Style/Design Books for Fall 2016

This week, Part 1 — six exceptional new books.

I’ve selected my favorite books—design, style, Paris cuisine, interiors—that are worthy of your lifetime reading library. Pleasure, reference, fun, inspiration, ideas, travel, and originality are all here.

In these delicious volumes: young aristocrats, fabulous flowers, creative interiors, and the authoritative new reference book for restaurants in Paris. Nostalgic-filled trips to the South, a furry friend, artful flowers, and a bit of history served with lashings of gossip are all here. A must. Interiors hold center stage of course.

One surprise. Neville Jacobs. Yes, Marc Jacobs’ dog, a distinctive bull terrier, has his own witty new book. Yes, he’s the current cover boy of September AD.

There’s a reason it’s on my radar. ’Neville Jacobs I’m Marc’s Dog”, by Nicolas Newbold, Neville’s studio manager, donates all profits from the books to The Sato Project, which works to rescue abused and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico (

Come with me to discover the best new books, new faces, new ideas, and books that you’ll want to accompany you through life to inspire you forever.


What’s admirable in ‘Great Houses Modern Aristocrats’ (Rizzoli): It’s by photographer Jonathan Becker and the writer Jim Reginato, a longtime friend. Jim is a longform journalist. He researches, and every house is revealed, enriched, and brought to life. There’s wonderfully detailed text and lots of insider information, along with over a dozen of the grand houses of Great Britain plus St. Lucia and Tuscany. This is a book to study, read, immerse in, and place in your library alongside your favorite classic design and style books.

What I Love: Houghton Hall, plus The Grove and a dash of gossipy text about the Mountbattens.

Look for Haddon Hall, Blenhein Palace, Luggala, The Old Vicarage (Debo Mitford) and Lismore Castle.


What’s great in ‘Around that Time Horst at Home in Vogue’ (Abrams): I hope you all have ‘Vogue’s Book of Houses Gardens and People’ (published in 1961). That’s an essential reference for designers, incredibly chic. Everyone who was everyone. This new book gathers these sixty glam people together—including Pauline de Rothschild, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Kenny Lane, Elsa Peretti, Deeda Blair, Mona von Bismarck, and Yves Saint Laurent. It’s worth acquiring just for Cy Twombly’s palazzo.

What I Love: Hamish Bowles’ introduction and insight. Revisiitng Twombly, Nancy Lancaster and Francois and Betty Catroux is worth the trip. 


What’s great on the colorful pages of ‘In Bloom Creating and Living with Flowers’ (Rizzoli): Photographer/ writer Ngoc Minh Ngo follows her own trail around the world. She immerses a reader in Tangier, the Bronx, London, Brooklyn, Bordeaux and Echaussieres. I don’t usually love paper flowers (or any fake flowers) but Livia Cetti’s paper petals as shown by Ngo, are entrancing. 

What I Love: Interiors, studios, rooms, gardens, not just flowers. This is a treasure, for designers, for flower designers, and romantics.

‘In Bloom’ means the return of the great floral/interiors photographer, Ngoc Minh Ngo and her fantastic and spectacular and exacting eye for interiors and beauty. A book to treasure, every page takes the reader to over dozen gardens, houses, flower designers and exceptional paper flowers.


What’s great in ‘Must Eat Paris An Eclectic Selection of Culinary Locations
 (Lannoo) by Luc Hoornaert, with photography by Kris Vlegels: It’s time for a new and original appraisal of’ Paris restaurants. ‘Must Eat Paris’ is essential for all my friends who often travel to Paris, and live in Paris, who appreciate a reliable guide to dining, high and low, grand and gritty. Lannoo is a fantastic Belgian publishing house to check out.

Luc Hoornaert, picked his 100 favorites, and takes readers on a trip to meet chefs, hang out in dives, and discover the city. 

His knowledge of Japanese cuisine and chefs is acute, and he knows the best and unknown. Lots of my favorites all over Paris are here. Photography is divine, and the chefs…by the way…and all handsome. Must collect this.

What I Love: Luc Hoornaert has selected restaurants, cafés, patisseries, that are historic, fun, serious (L’Arpege), undiscovered, local, neighborhood, chic, or gritty, and avoids the trendy.

Carnivores, vegetarians and pescatarians, rejoice. Photography is soulful. He zeroes in on special dishes (smoked goose ravioli, anyone?) and loves Japanese refinement. He's obsessed with fresh ingredients. The eccentric and the rare, love it.


What’s great about ‘Neville Jacobs I’m Marc Jacobs Dog’ (Rizzoli) by Neville Newbold, with a foreword by Marc Jacobs: It's a true fan book, with 240 pages of Neville. He hangs out with models like Christy Turlington, and lolls at Marc Jacobs’ office. Sweet.

Neville Jacobs I’m Marc Jacobs Dog’ was originally subtitled ‘The Hardest Working Dog in Fashion’. Neville Jacobs has, it is said, 171,000 followers on Instagram. Here are the images, a portfolio, and a fan book. There’s tenderness, style, irony, fun, and Neville’s life. He’s a handsome fellow. Sales benefit The Sato Project,

What I Love: He’s often dressed in people clothing (credit is due to photographer William Wegman) and looks splendid, a very good sport.


What’s great about ‘Amelia Handegan Rooms
 (Rizzoli) is her understated approach. Historic rooms feel fresh, with a very light touch. Handegan pays attention to materials. Her color palette feels inspired by the landscape. There’s a sense of life, and time passing. I especially admire the way she gives walls their due. For a house in South Carolina, she commissioned California artist Scott Waterman to paint subtle landscapes on the walls. Greek Revival inspirations flow through the pages—and no room feels ‘styled’ or ‘decorated. I must visit the region, thanks to Amelia Handegan’s footprint and guidance. Her studio is in Charleston.

What I Love:  I love California. Adore it. And after reading ‘Amelia Handegan Rooms’ (wonderfully written by Ingrid Abramovitch)—I'm tempted by the idea of living in a 1772 mansion in Charleston, or Rose Hill, an historic estate in the Rappahannock River Valley, with Handegan’s deft decorating. This is a quietly beautiful book, photographed by Pieter Estersohn.


As always, I’d be so happy if you would acquire these books from your local bookseller. Privately-owned bookshops are our cultural treasures. Please drop in and order your books there.

All images published here with express permission of each publisher.

For more information:


Philip Bewley said...

I always look forward to your book lists. There is no other book list published that is edited with the very best and enticing new book selections. I am looking forward to adding some of these to my collection. Thank you, Diane!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

dear philip-

thank you so much. It is my great pleasure.

The Reginato book is particularly good...and has so much detail and background in text and captions.

For your next trip to must get MUST EAT PARIS...reading it is inspiring, and the diversity and revelations are fantastic! The author imports special Japanese foods (he's Belgian) he has a great fondness for the Japanese restaurants in Paris...I can't wait to go back.

fondest and thanks--DIANE

lindaraxa said...

Dear Diane,

I have to say that the biggest surprise for me, and the biggest accolade for Neville Jacobs, has to be for his book to land on your list of The Best and Most Exciting Design Books of Fall 2016. That dog is a STAR and you have just given him an Oscar! I am sending this post to one of my best friends in Paris who will not only love Neville, but will appreciate Must Eat Paris. He has lived there since forever and is quite the gourmand, but if this book was written by a Belgian, it has to be good.

Funny, I had looked at Great Houses, Modern Aristocrats on Amazon and had; but after seeing the photos and your comments, I must take another look. Thanks!

SALLY said...

Diane, thanks, AGAIN, for compiling this list. I always buy at least one from your annual list. There are so many design books, it gets overwhelming. Great to have you do the work for us!
As an aside, you must have a tremendous amount of energy! It's amazing to me the diverse world you navigate and share with your readers. Thanks everso much!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

dear sally-

thank you so much. I'm so happy you like the books...there are more reviews and selections on the way...keep reading.

Energy...YES, THANK YOU. I am passionate about many things, and I am enthusiastic, and I get very good sleep and rest well each night. Probably...the best way to have energy is to have great and interesting friends...who do interesting things that you love. Music, art, design,'s very stimulating. stay in touch--love to hear from you. DIANE

Claudia Juestel said...

I would like to second Philip's assessment. I am also adding Michelle Nussbaumer's "Wanderlust" to my personal fall list.



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