Monday, August 7, 2017

New Fun Reads — Global Style with Wit!

Fun and Frisky: New International Style and Design Books for Ideas, Inspiration and Surprise
I’ve selected eight lively, stylish and opinionated new style books to add to your library and reference.

At the top of the list is the colorful and witty ‘Daily Life’ by Gert Voorjans, the designer of the ultra-chic international Dries van Noten boutiqes.

‘Explorers’ Sketchbooks’ is a fantastic new favorite—rich with travel inspiration, wild explorers and adventurers, men and women. Chic!

‘Travels with Chufy’ by Argentinian style-setter Sofia Sanchez de Betak, and ‘The Art of the White Shirt’ by Libby Vanderploeg made the list.

And I love ‘The New Paris The People, Places and Ideas Fueling a Movement’ by Lindsay Tramuta. It’s a very focused and detailed and provocative new food/restaurant/shopping/style guide. And we take a quick look at Vestoj (pronounced vest-toy) the vibrant compendium and academic report on fashion ideas and issues. Oh…and a book about black cats. I’d say it’s a lucky find. Come and see it.

I’ve taken some quick snaps of covers and pages and found fun books to delight and amuse. Come with me for a literary check-up.

Gert the Great

Gert Voorjans is one of the most brilliant and iconoclastic style-setters and creators centered in Antwerp. He designs store interiors for Dries van Noten. Have you swooned in the Dries boutiques in Paris and wanted to move it? That’s Gert’s work…full of quirky antiques, luscious and sensual fabrics and a ‘vie de chateau’ feeling. His approach is carefree, sometimes maximal, and always pure charm. His book is published with great verve and originality by Lannoo, a Belgian publisher I admire greatly.

I shot the cover of ‘Daily Life’ by Gert Voorhans (by Belgian publisher Lannoo). It’s large and has a vibrant introduction by the great Hamish Bowles.

The book covers a wide range of styles and international work. I love this book—which has spirit and soul and is lots of fun.

Chronicle Books, based in San Francisco and owned by Nion McEvoy, acquired my first book, and of course is one of my favorite publishers.

New in the Summer Chronicle Books catalog is the exciting and very original ‘Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery and Adventure’ by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert. It’s a highly original and inspiring compendium of 70 international explorers, botanists, adventurers, artists, fearless wanderers—and their notebooks, art, drawings, maps, imagery and vivid reporting. Notebooks and sketchbooks and logs are shown, as well as superb mapping, anthropological drawings, and daring adventures.

The pages cover women and women who, from the 1600s, roamed and discovered and painted and drew…and found forests and coastlines (New Zealand!) and the Himalayas, Africa, and King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

I’m especially happy to see the paintings of Margaret Mee, who voyaged alone up the Amazon in the fifties and sixties in search of rare orchids to paint. There’s Adela Breton who braved the jungles of Africa to record Mayan Runs, and there are vibrant paintings of tribes and creatures and costumes and even Angkor Wat, India and deserts and frozen arctic scenes.

It’s highly original…and inspiring for bold travelers.

‘The New Paris The People, Places and Ideas Fueling a Movement’ by Lindsey Tramuta (Abrams) takes a fresh and very current look at Paris food and dining, sweets, libations, shopping and crafts, talents, ideas, places, distilleries, natural wine bars, artists, illustrators. Would it be useful as a guide? Perhaps…yes.

I propose read it cover to cover…and then plan a trip to Paris based on your passions, and love of patisserie. It’s a new look…not at all touristy and no clichés.

Love it. 

Travels with Chufyby Sofia Sanchez de Betak, who grew up in Argentina, has a vivid international life as a fashion designer, blogger, trend-spotter and consultant, and model.

I love her personal approach, very independent and witty. She’s chosen 24 hotels/camps/inns/hideaways/adventures,all of a very private, personal style.

Sofia takes readers to Naples, Kyoto, Iceland, Positano, Patmos, Mendoza, Marrakech, Patagonia…and beyond…and finds secret rooms, cabins, tents, ryokans, beach-side cottages and gardens. It’s published by Assouline.

For experienced travelers looking for new experiences—or for novices wanting rare and unsual explorations, Chufy takes you by the hand. She’s joyful, stylish, fearless and I trust her eye and style.

‘The Art of the White Shirt
’ illustrated by Libby Vanderploeg (published by Hardy Grant Books) has great charm and ideas. Libby’s drawings are chic and crisp. She has 30 inventive looks and included style icons like Patti Smith, Carolina Herrera, Janelle Monae, Diane Keaton and Isabella Rossellini.

She wardrobes the look with total outfits. It’s all very fresh, observant, and simple. Stylish.

It’s a neat book to drop in your bag, to read on the bus or train or plane or beach. Useful and compact, the book has witty text.

‘Alvedon’s Paris: Old Wold New Look’ by Robert M. Rubin and Marianne Le Galliard (Abrams) is a great find. It’s a collection of the work of Richard Avedon in France—centering on his film projects with Audrey Hepburn (“Funny Face’ was based on his life) as well as his fashion shoots for Vogue (Suzy Parker) and his love of French photographers.

Chapters include his portraits (Nureyev) and his great love of Lartigue, as well as his portraiture for Egoieste magazine.

The format is small and the book is about 4-5 inches thick and a great read.

I love Avedon’s quotes, his work and his sheer love of France. It must have been the best part of his life…creative, chic, discovery, great people and style.

VESTOJ magazine, The Journal of Sartorial Matters, was until now simply a scholarly, academic pursuit with a global following.

Vestoj hit the news recently when the editor-n-chief/ publisher Anja Aronowsky-Cronberg published an explosive interview with Lucinda Chambers, a British Vogue editor who had just been given the boot after 35 years with the magazine. Lucinda’s revelations, criticisms, complaints and insider dirt/cynicism/sarcasm were a bombshell in the sotto voce fashion world.

Lawyers quickly forced Vestoj to modify the report but the damage was done—and Vestoj gained world-wide publicity.

Vestoj (the magazine’s name is the Esperanto word for clothes, and it is pronounced vest-toy)…is hard to find in the US (or anywhere) but I tracked two copies last weekend at Reliquary style shop on Hayes Street in San Francisco. (See their card with the photo). 

I particularly like Issue No 6 on Failure…on wardrobe malfunctions, mercantile liaisons, and the failure of the fashion police, and some unexpected views on clothes and fashion ideas. This is not Vogue. It’s the anti-Vogue…provocative, fearless and droll. There’s a terrific interview/feature on ‘What’s Wrong with the Fashion Industry’ in Issue 6…and Issue 5, smaller, goes off on a tangent on slowness.

For readers of Suitcase, Cereal and Kinfolk and other small independent publications, Vestoj is a discovery.

‘All Black Cats are Not Alike’ by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle is a delightfully original and charming little book…to place on your work desk or keep close for a laugh and moments of escape.

The premise—Amy is an editor and Peter is Scottish, an illustrator.

The book…great concept with witty premise…was partially funded by Kickstarter, and they rounded up forty black cats (all with great names and personalities) to draw and describe and offer anecdotes. I’ll leave it to you to discover. I…well, yes, laughed out loud. I think you might. It would be a fantastic gift for the owner of a black cat. It’s published by Chronicle Books.

Wishing you happy and joyful and inspiring reading...

1 comment:

littleaugury said...

A wonderful collection- I love the look of the White Shirt! and of course I must get the Explorer's Sketchbook. pgt