Monday, May 8, 2017

My Favorite New Fashion and Style Books for Spring 2017

This week I’m focusing on fashion, including a fantastic new fashion reference from Paris, Manolo’s new shoe book, the big book of Francois Nars, and a close look at the enigmatic Dora Maar, and the bohemian Tziporah Salamon.

Join me for a close look at each book…and lots of images.

Next week my favorite new books on travel, and Part three is my selection of books on interior design and style inspiration.

My criteria: Is the book an essential for a lifetime library, and does it offer insight and new knowledge and expert information? Is it beautifully designed? Does it have wit and generosity and originality? Yes, yes and yes to all five books this week.

| 1.  Fashion Forward 300 Years of Fashion   |

Fashion Forward: 300 Years of Fashion By Pierre Bergé, Olivier Gabet, Pamela Golbin, and Denis Bruna (Rizzoli USA 2017)

This fantastic reference book traces the evolution of fashion—from the opulence of the court of Louis XV to the couture of today and illustrates three centuries of fashion trends and innovation.

Originally published to accompany a major exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, it’s a definitive book on fashion history. This is a well-ilustrated book that’s also brainy—as it explores how fashion has always been intertwined with the fine arts and decorative arts.

Fashion icons known for this artistic cross-pollination include Gabrielle Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent, who are highlighted.

About the authors: Pierre Bergé cofounded the house of Yves Saint Laurent with his longtime partner. Olivier Gabet is the director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and former curator at the Musée d’Orsay, and a specialist in nineteenth- century decorative arts. Pamela Golbin is the chief curator of twentieth-century collections, fashion, and textiles at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Denis Bruna is the curator of pre-nineteenth-century fashion and textile collections at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Find here Chanel, Dior, Lee McQueen, a 1690 riding coat, 19th-century ball gowns, Schiaparelli, and contemporary heroes like Dries, Alber and Yamamoto.

| 2. Manolo Blahnik The Art of Shoes   |

Manolo Blahnik The Art of Shoes by Cristina Carillo de Albornoz Fisac (SKIRA/ Rizzoli 2017)

I’ve collected Manolo Blahnik’s annual books over the years. They are windows onto his creative process, his obsessions, his fetishes and his joys. Plus I wear mostly Blank shoes, the best by far.

The new MANOLO BLAHNIK: THE ART OF SHOES explores the creativity and influences of Manolo, through a frisky alphabetic chronicle of the designer’s loves and inspiration.

Blahník’s whimsical book gives insight into the art and craftsmanship of shoemaking and includes musings on his relationships with figures such as Anna Piaggi, Loulou de la Falaise, and Diana Vreeland.

The book is just 128 pages, with original and significant hits like the inspiration Blahnik draws from works by Goya, Zurbarán, Picasso, Barbara Hepworth, and Zaha Hadid; and his admiration for fellow designers such as Azzedine Alaïa, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few.

I’m always inspired to dash off and buy books he recommends, see films he loves, check on an obscure painting or photo or style he adores. Blahnik the Great.

The book was designed to also act as a catalogue to The Art of Shoes, a retrospective show of 212 hand selected shoes from Manolo’s 30,000 strong archive, which will tour the world this year.

Launched in January 2017 at the Palazzo Morando in Milan, home to the factories where Manolo Blahnik shoes are brought to life, it then moves to the State Museum Hermitage in St. Petersburg Russia, a source of constant inspiration for Blahnik. From there on to The Czech Republic, the paternal home of the Blahnik family where the exhibition will show at Museum Kampa in Prague, followed by the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas in Madrid, Spain, Blahnik’s heart land. In 2018 the tour then jumps to the esteemed BATA shoe museum in Toronto, Canada with more international locations to be confirmed. 

| 3. François Nars   | 

François Nars (Rizzoli USA 2016)

François Nars launched his first lipsticks at Barneys New York in 1994, and his makeup collections are among my most admired. I’m sure you’ve all tried the various iterations of Dragon Girl and Orgasm blush, and his eye colors and powders. Fun and reliable and chic.

A few years ago, L’Oreal acquired his company and it’s clear that Nars is still the creator, the dreamer, the idea and style guide and soul of the brand.

Watch the seasonal concepts…this spring his inspiration is Charlotte Gainsbourg.

He previously notably created a collection of colors inspired by Sarah Moon, the great photographer.

As it happens, there is a Nars boutique in my neighborhood, so I’m very familiar with the lip pencils and new cheek tints, and powders and compacts that travel so well.

This bold new book is like a visit to Nars’ library, where he shows you all his photo albums, his portfolios of Vogue covers, his snaps of model makeup, and his years of inventing new eye make-ups working with favorite models (Naomi).

There’s not much text, though he is very generous crediting and thanking everyone. Images cover his pop life, his favorite models, actors, and new make-ups.

Finally, probably the real reason I love this book is that it ends with a visit to his residence on a private motu (island) in the Bora Bora lagoon. Working with Christian Liaigre, he created a wonderfully subtle haven for family and friends. It’s frangipani-scented and palm-shaded and a super-chic homage to Tahitian culture. Photos in Tahiti are black and white….and so stylish.

| 4. Dora Maar  |
Paris in the Time of Man Ray, Jean Cocteau and Picasso

Dora Maar Paris in the Time of Man Ray, Jean Cocteau and Picasso by Louise Baring (Rizzoli USA 2017)

I selected this biography of the enigmatic Dora Maar because I thought it would include photos and information about the very insider Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, Provence. I have visited the house several times and at one point hoped to be awarded a fellowship to research and write there for a month. This was not to be, and I retain great affection for the residence, the idea, and Ménerbes and friends there.

Louise Baring has written a fascinating book that reveals a talented photographer who was famously involved with Picasso in the thirties and forties, and is the subject of many of his most famous paintings.

Maar has somewhat been written out of Picasso’s story except as a ‘weeping woman’. She went on to befriend and inspire many of the talented photographers, painters and designers in Paris over many decades and lived there in seclusion until 1997.

The book is a small treasure—even after I realized that there are no photos of the Dora Maar House in Provence. Illustrations include many examples of her surrealist photography. Objectively, it’s a study of a woman’s life, and at the same time, it is a riposte to those who thought she was ‘nothing without Picasso’. 

| 5. The Art of Dressing  | 
Ageless, Timeless, Original Style

The Art of Dressing  Ageless, Timeless, Original Style by Tziporah Salamon (Rizzoli New York 2017)

Tziporah Salamon is one of the colorful street style icons that Bill Cunningham photographed every week around 57th Street, outside Tiffany or Bergdorf’s.

She was usually not named. No-one was identified, but everyone in New York knows Tziporah.

Tziporah has many lives in New York as a style lecturer, a theatrical performer, and a fun person to know and spend time with. You might be fortunate to run into her striding along Madison Avenue, or riding her Italian bicycle through Central Park.

Rizzoli editor Ellen Nidy is one of the top talents who shaped this fascinating biography and charted her life and her wardrobe through the colorful years.

Best of all, many pages are devoted to the style and dress of Tziporah’s friends, including the incredibly chic Beatrix Ost, the elegant Carmen de Lavallade, and Enrica Carretti and Marjorie Stern.

Along the way, Tziporah offers essential style tips including, “Enlist the services of a good seamstress and tailor’, and her commentary on color, proportion, pattern, and starting with basics.

A fun read and certainly a sharp response and dismissal of fast fashion. Eccentric, yes, Life-affirming, yes.


Copyright images here used with express permission of the publisher.

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