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Fashion books do a fine job of boosting your style IQ

Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
 

Coco Chanel once said, “I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little — if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

Help the fashionista in your life be prepared for her destiny with a book of style. There are many options to choose from for the Chanel-loving woman in your world. Buy her the book written by Jemma Kidd about beauty secrets, or one on defining the art of dressing, or a book on the life and legacy of Alexander McQueen. There are several options of style reads to make this time of the year a chic one.

“A to Z of Style,” by Amy de la Haye ($19.95, Abrams): The latest volume in this clothbound fashion series, “A to Z of Style” brings together the secrets of style from the world's greatest fashion designers, their famous clients and other figures from the world of fashion in this illustrated dictionary.

Beginning with A for Accessories and ending with Z for Zips, this guide preserves wisdom of fashion's big names from Chanel on perfume to Christian Dior on elegance to Elsa Schiaparelli on hats. Whether you have lots of it, or just a little, style is something that evolves: a lifelong work in progress, with some over-the-top moments, and some more terrible ones we'd like to forget. But it is our faux pas that forge our style and make us more self-assured and confident, and help us understand who we are, suggests de la Haye. Like many other areas in life, it's the mistakes that make us progress. With time, we realize what works for our personal style — and what doesn't.

“Jemma Kidd Make-Up Secrets: Solutions to Every Woman's Beauty Issues and Make-Up Dilemmas,” by Jemma Kidd ($24.99, St. Martin's Press): International make-up artist, business woman, award-winning product designer and former model Jemma Kidd reveals her sought-after makeup secrets in her new book.

“With all my experience in beauty and make-up, the advice and tips in this book are invaluable,” says Mary Greenwell, Chanel Ambassador and make-up artist. “It has taught me things I thought I knew — so worth reading, even for the most seasoned expert.”

Included is the best foundation for your skin type and skin tone, great ways to turn high-fashion looks into something you can use for everyday and make-up to make you look younger.

“Alexander McQueen: The Life and the Legacy,” by Judith Watt ($35, Harper Collins): This is a rarified, intimate look at the personal and professional life of the fashion world's most visionary designer. Written by Judith Watt, a leading fashion historian and personal friend of McQueen, the book features never-before-seen photographs of some of his most intricate garments, and images from private collectors, like Daphne Guinness and Isabella Blow.

“Audrey: The 60s,” by David Wills and Stephen Schmidt ($40, Harper Collins): Audrey Hepburn is unparalleled as an iconic photographic subject. Regarded as one of the most beautiful and best-dressed women in history, her appeal is timeless. She defined a decade with her elegant style. From her little black dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany's” to her high-fashion spreads in Vogue, her legacy is seen everywhere. Her personal style is a rare constant as subsequent generations discover her anew and look to her as a template for chic that no one else, except perhaps Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, represents.

“Tim Walker Story Teller,” by Tim Walker, Robin Muir and Ruth Ansel ($75, Abrams): This stunning photography collection from world-renowned fashion photographer Tim Walker showcases his signature style with some of the biggest names in fashion and contemporary culture. Included are many A-listers in fashion and Hollywood, including Alexander McQueen, Tilda Swinton, Helena Bonham Carter and Alber Elbaz, among others. Walker is one of the most exciting photographers of our time with his flamboyant style — often tongue and cheek but always exquisitely executed.

“The World in Vogue: People Party Places,” edited by Alexandra Kotur ($75, Abrams): This one-of-a-kind book of 300 photographs of some of the most celebrated actors, artists, models, first ladies and social figures draws on stories that have appeared in the pages of Vogue over the past four decades and photographs from never published stories. Richly illustrated in black and white and in color, the book contains a stunning look at portraits, houses, gardens and parties of celebrated figures from many worlds.

“Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland,” by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart ($35, Harper Collins): In 1936, when few women of her social status worked, Vreeland was thrilled by a offer a job at Harper's Bazaar. Hired for her dramatic international sense of style, grounded in an appreciation of Parisian haute couture, she was thrust into unfamiliar territory — covering the New York fashion industry. Today, nearly 40 years after ending her magazine career at Vogue and nearly a quarter century after her death in 1989 at age 86, Vreeland is internationally recognized as a catalyst for American fashion. Stuart reveals the resilent, diligent, determined dreamer beneath the famous lacquered face. This biography says Vreeland brought pizzazz to American fashion, championeding clothes that flattered and liberated the natural female body and made fashion accessible to every woman — regardless of her figure or finance — as a personal choice and statement.

“Diane von Furstenberg and the Tale of The Empress's New Clothes,” by Camilla Morton ($21.99, Harper Collins): This empowering new story styles a feminine twist to the classic tale of ‘The Emperor's New Clothes,' as it draws parallels with Diane von Furstenberg's story. Morton, a fashion writer and internationally best-selling author, celebrates the story of the fashion designer and weaves a cautionary tale for the empress in all of us. This is the third book in the Fashion Fairy Tale Memoir series.

“The Style Mentors: Women Who Define the Art of Dressing Today,” by Elyssa Dimant ($30, Harper Collins): Profiling more than 80 contemporary women with great style, Dimant, a fashion historian and expert in contemporary fashion studies, offers role models for the here and now. Each of the book's eight chapters addresses a signature look with proven fashion longevity — icon, maverick, bohemian, gamine, siren, minimalist, rocker and classic — and demonstrates how to achieve it by analyzing the style of those who wear it admirably. The book shows how to incorporate that know how into a current personal look. Included throughout are a wealth of dos and don'ts, lists of wardrobe and accessory essentials and sage tips on fashion and beauty.

“Vogue: The Editor's Eye,” edited by Eve MacSweeney ($75, Abrams): Vogue, the world's most influential fashion magazine, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this fall. To commemorate the milestone, Conde Nast and Abrams Books have created a stunning volume chronicling the history of Vogue, as seen through the eyes of eight of the magazine's iconic fashion editors. The book celebrates the pivotal role Vogue's fashion editors have played in shaping America's sense of style, featuring a forward from Anna Wintour.

With world-famous photographers such as Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz and model muses such as Suzy Parker and Linda Evangelista, the most memorable collaborations between photographer and model have become pop-culture touchstones that have far outlasted their context and influenced fashion for generations.

“Hollywood Sketchbook: A Century of Costume Illustration,” by Deborah Nadoolman Landis ($75, Harper Design): In her book, this author and Academy Award-nominated costume designer opens the doors to the dynamic world of costume illustration, revealing the world's most sumptuous illustrations and behind-the-scenes stories of some of the most beloved costumes of all time. A comprehensive introduction contextualizes the rigors of costume illustration and highlights the contributions each of the featured artists made to the history of the art form. The book is authoritative, yet accessible in tone, and contains a dazzling array of first-person anecdotes that inform and enhance the images.

“W: The First 40 Years,” edited by Stefano Tonchi, with Christopher Bagley and Joseph Logan ($75, Abrams): This book takes a remarkable journey through four decades of W, one of the most innovative and provocative fashion magazines in the world. Since 1972, its unique blend of unparalleled access, cultural smarts, high glamour and visual panache has kept it consistently in the vanguard of what's new, hot and noteworthy not only in the world of fashion, but in art, design, style, beauty, celebrity and society. One of its greatest legacies is stunning photography with the best from past and present featured on these pages.

“Vogue Weddings: Brides, Dresses, Designers,” edited by Hamish Bowles ($85, Knopf): In nearly 400 stunning photographs, a breathtaking and inspirational look at the weddings and wedding dresses that have appeared in the pages of Vogue throughout the magazine's 120-year history.

From grand royal weddings in storied castles to weddings by the sea or in the countryside, we see the glamorous nuptials of Grace Kelly, Kate Moss, Sofia Coppola, Carolina Herrara Jr., Plum Sykes, Audrey Hepburn and others. The Wedding Designers Guide offers 10 designers celebrated for their stylish and romantic designs, from Vera Wang to J. Crew. This book is not only informative and rich with historical detail, but also presents a collection of dramatic and inspirational images.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

 

 

 
 


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