Monday, July 24, 2017

Three Great New Style Books for Lifetime Reading

Newest Style Books I Love: The Best Design and Style Books, Summer 2017

My top picks: 
Flammarion’s ‘Villa Astor’ and Rizzoli’s ‘Christian Dior in the South of France The Chateau de la Colle Noire, along with Lannoo’s ‘Margiela The Hermès Years’ make for delicious viewing and vivid, highly detailed reading.

Superbly designed and art directed, these three books will be stars in your reference library, constant inspiration, and a rich source of lifetime reading and pleasure. That’s always my goal, a lifetime of enjoyment and ideas.

1. Villa Astor Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast

Introduction by The Right Honorable the Lord Astor of Hever. Text by Curt DiCamillo, Suzanne Tise-Isoré, Alexandra Campbell, Rita Vessichelli Pane.
Photography by Eric Sander, Flammarion 2017

Imagine a grand villa on a cliff high above the Bay of Naples near Sorrento, basking in the Mediterranean sunshine and with spectacular views of Mount Vesuvius.

Windows are open to illuminate priceless Greek and Roman statuary.

Villa Astor is an Italian landmark with a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire.

American businessman, collector, and politician William Waldorf Astor fell in love with Italy and in 1875 acquired the villa that bears his name. He turned it into a paradise of art, beauty, architecture, and exquisite gardens.

Villa Astor was maintained by the Astor family until 1919.

Now for the new owners, the acclaimed French decorator Jacques Garcia has beautifully restored the villa and exceptional gardens to their former splendor.

This scholarly book vividly illustrates the interiors, the collections, the lavish gardens and statuary, along with history, archival images and paintings.

Images take readers on a private tour—always with the (imagined) sounds and fragrant breezes of the Mediterranean for atmosphere. Divine.

The Right Honorable the Lord Astor of Hever is the great-grandson of William Waldorf Astor and a member of the House of Lords. Curt DiCamillo is a Boston-based architectural historian and an authority on the British country house.

Suzanne Tise-Isoré is an art historian and coauthor of French Decorative Art: 1900- 1942.

Alexandra Campbell is a biographical researcher and writer.

Rita Vessichelli Pane is co-author of I Sapori del Sud.

Eric Sander’s photographs have appeared in Smithsonian, Life, Time, Newsweek, Le Figaro  Magazine, and numerous books, including A Day at Château de Fontainebleau (Flammarion, 2015).

2. Christian Dior in the South of France
The Château de la Colle Noire

© 2017 Christian Dior.  Text by Laurence Benaïm. Photographs by Miguel Flores-Vianna and Bruno Suet. Illustrations by Jean-Philippe Delhomme.

The Château de La Colle Noire, which Christian Dior purchased in 1950, sealed his love affair with Provence. The delightful times Christian Dior spent in his beloved chateau were also occasions to welcome family and friends at La Colle Noire and cultivate friendships with the artists he cared about including Bernard Buffet, Marc Chagall, Marie- Laure de Noailles and many others who shared laughter and terrace dinners with Dior.

During the day, he cultivated his roses and sketched, relaxed, and continued to refine and define the landscapes and interiors.

Now, the superb estate has undergone a complete restoration, conducted by the neo-Provençal architect André Svétchine.

The beautifully edited book illustrates that La Colle Noire gardens flourish thanks to landscape designer Philippe Deliau. Interiors were restored to their original design by decorator Yves de Marseille.

Art direction and design for La Colle Noire are by the highly admired team from Cabana magazine, and the pages are ornamented and richly embellished (in the style of Cabana). The book has great charm.

In particular, I love the delight of the witty and informative back pages, A Guide to Christian Dior’s Places to visit, which invites readers to discover mythical sites, from the famous to the surprising and cultural, where the couturier/ perfumer liked to stop when driving around Provence in his Hotchkiss convertible.

The black truffle market in Aups, the glass factory in Biot, the bouillabaisse fish stew at Tétou and the bar at the Carlton Hotel, the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence and his favorite hotels, sites, galleries, museums (Picasso), along with the Villa Kerylos (my favorite), and all the must-see Dior picks of Cannes, Nice, Vence and all points of style and interest. Every detail of this book is carefully considered and superbly produced. Most impressive.

3. Margiela  The Hermès Years

The enigmatic, brilliant and highly influential Belgian designer Martin Margiela created and delineated fashion and accessories for Hermès for four years, launching in 1997. This highly original book documents and illuminates his Hermès designs of that period as well as his own label collections at the time.

Martin Margiela’s tenure at Hermès was one of the most surprising and important of all of their designer collaborations.

Cleverly and wittily, he took all of the Hermès codes and signatures—elegant simplicity, cashmere, luxe leathers, crocodile skins, seasonless dressing, low-key classic colors, subtle tones, no pattern—and amplified them in a new and edgy manner.

I’ve always admired that era, and this book perfectly defines the subversiveness of simple uber-luxury mashed with the avant-garde chic of the designer.

Suzy Menkes loves his ‘tactile fabrics for feminine allure’ and she admired his clean silhouettes and pared-down details.

Margiela was and is a joyful renegade, and he understood that traditional forms and shapes could be transformed with amplification and restraint.

The book shows, in contrast/juxtaposition his own experimental fashions of those years, and his studio milieu and models.

Margiela has always had a cult following—and I admire the way he applied his own deconstruction design process to his label Maison Martin Margiela—and the great house of Hermès.



Villa Astor Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast
Published by Flammarion. All photography © Eric Sander

Christian Dior in the South of France The Chateau de la Colle Noire is published by Rizzoli USA, Photography by Miguel Flores-Vianna and Bruno Suet, with art direction by Cabana.

The Hermès Years is published by Lannoo, based in Belgium, Essays by Rebecca Arnold, Kaat Debo, Elisa De Wyngaert, Sarah Mower, Vincent Wierink, Karen Van Godtsenhoven.


CWoodyard said...

So pleased to say that I visited Villa Aster in the '90's when the generous Panes still owed it. The house and garden were divine, as were they. So happy that Rizzoli has done a book on this historically intriguing property! Thank You!

Penelope Bianchi said...

Again, Dianne......such a brilliant post about brilliant books!
Please, oh , please, connect with Pinterest! I need to be able to save your images!

Congratulations again!

I love you and your blog!!


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

The Great Penny-

I am so happy to hear from you.

I am on Pinterest...and my images are all over it....look for THE STYLE SALONISTE...and pages and pages of my images are there....

THE STYLE SALONISTE is a major source of articles/ pins/ images on first I was horrified as they were basically being plagiarized or 'stolen'....images that I'd directed and that had been shot by photographers...and were not appearing on Pinterest, ironically, is a major platform for readers to discover THE STYLE SALONISTE..

wishing you all the best...and happy travels...much love DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


So wonderful to hear from you.

THE STYLE SALONISTE is on Pinterest...and I save ever blog post there...

here is the PINTEREST LINK:

George Brazil said...

Diane, thanks for a great review of this books. Just ordered Villa Astor. I had to. Those images are breathtaking. The site reminds me of Villa Kerylos with the villa hugging the edge of the cliff.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Thank you so much for your message.

You will be very pleased with the book in is beautifully produced, printed, designed and there is lots to read and learn.

You will want to plan a trip to the Amalfi Coast and Naples...definitely.

In particular...the book paints a rich portrait of the history, the people, and collections, and the current refreshment/ repairs/ restorations by Jacques Garcia.

It's an exceptional book...and essential for a lifetime reference library. happy days and happy reading--very best and I hope to see you soon-DIANE

lindaraxa said...

You had me at Jacques Garcia. He was the perfect choice for this place...You are such a bad influence, Diane. Every time I clean my bookshelves you come out with a great post on new books. I give up. I'll just have to let the "heirs" deal with it. Villa Astor is on it's way.