All-time best fashion books

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It feels as if the last few years has seen a stream of books published about various aspects of fashion. Bring it on, I say, as I await the release of Kate Betts’ My Paris Dream and Amanda Brooks’s Always Pack a Party Dress. While I wait, I’ve been re-enjoying a few of the books that have delighted and inspired me and here is a small selection, in time for consideration as indulgent holiday reading.

The lives of the professionals cast light on what is good, bad and ugly about the industry as well as being wonderfully entertaining reading. The best I’ve found are: Grace: a memoir by Grace Coddington; A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and her life in fashion, art and letters by Penelope Rowlands; Christian Dior and I  by Christian Dior; Diana Vreeland by Eleanor Dwight; Gods and Kings: the rise and fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano by Dana Thomas; I’ll drink to that by Betty Halbreich, Bergdorf Goodman’s personal shopper; and Sultans of Style a collection of Georgina Howell’s journalism.20150524_165746

For a pure shot of inspiration here are some hard-to beat women – just don’t try (all of) this at home: Infinite Variety: The life and legend of the Marchesa Casati and Marchesa Casati: Portrait of a Muse both by Scott D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yacarino; Rare Bird of Fashion: the irreverent Iris Apfel by Eric Bowman; Flair: fashion collected by Tina Chow by Richard Martin and Harold Koda; and Lou Lou de la Falaise by Ariel de Ravenel and Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni.

For styling advice, insights and experience, here are some good ones: I Love your Style by Amanda Brooks; Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange; Paris Street Style by Isabelle Thomas and Frederique Veysset; and Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others.

There’s rather more reading here than the average holiday allows (even allowing for flight delays) but stranded on a desert island you’d be set up nicely. Happy reading.

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