Indulge in the industry from afar with coffee table books that are as beautiful to look at as they are absorbing to read. From personality profiles and personal collections to the policing of fast fashion, the last 12 months have thrown up a series of cerebral reads to inspire even the most knowledgeable of style mavens.
CHANEL: THE IMPOSSIBLE COLLECTION By Alexander Fury
Luxury fashion, design and lifestyle publisher Assouline's Chanel: The Impossible Collection, curated by lauded fashion journalist Alexander Fury, is a literary museum exhibition. It documents the profound cultural impact of the French fashion maison from the days of Mademoiselle herself to the age of the late, great Karl Lagerfeld. A hundred of the house's most iconic moments are captured exquisitely across full-bleed pages. Presented in extravagant proportions so you can admire every detail, they include rare imagery from editorials, specialists and private archives.
See also: Ties that bind
RALPH LAUREN: IN HIS OWN FASHION By Alan Flusser
From the author of Dressing the Man, the seminal tome on men’s fashion, comes the illustrated biography of Ralph Lauren. Published to mark the designer’s 50th anniversary, Flusser’s book looks at the life of the American designer through a fashion and culture lens. This high-level yet intimate reflection on Lauren’s life and work shows how a preppy young boy from the Bronx created one of the most recognisable brands in American fashion.
See also: Resplendent on the runway
GEMS François Farges
Both a reference book and an exhibition catalogue, Gems unveils the fascinating world of minerals and gems through a dialogue between the prestigious collections of the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris and French jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels. Under the editorial direction of François Farges, mineralogists, scientists, specialists and historians explore the diversity of the mineral universe through a selection of geological specimens, legendary gems and exceptional ornaments created throughout history. Raw crystals, cut stones and jewellery are compared and contrasted, shedding light on both natural wonders and those transformed into
art by human hands.
FASHIONOPOLIS: THE PRICE OF FAST FASHION & THE FUTURE OF CLOTHES By Dana Thomas
In this informative volume, fashion journalist Dana Thomas convincingly lays out multiple arguments against fast fashion and the practice of rapidly manufacturing, purchasing and discarding clothes that is sweeping the globe. It is not all bad, though, as she also explores the slow fashion trend through efforts such as Levi’s’ use of domestically produced organic indigo for some of its denim, and small, socially conscious companies bringing their manufacturing operations back to the US. Thoroughly reported and persuasively written, Thomas’ clarion call for more responsible practices in fashion will speak to both industry professionals and socially conscious consumers.
EMBELLISHED By Naeem Khan
Naeem Khan grew up immersed in the world of Indian textiles, as both his father and grandfather created intricate garments worn by Indian royal families. After moving to the US as a teenager and landing an apprenticeship with the legendary designer Halston, Khan perfected his mastery
of draping and cutting fabric. Marrying the rich traditions and handmade textiles of his Indian roots as well as design inspirations from his travels to Peru, Japan, Russia and Spain with modern techniques, Khan’s innovative vision and artistry express themselves in dramatic red carpet gowns, and bejewelled frocks that sparkle with sequins and crystals. Brimming with glossy colour photographs of Khan's chic designs, this new title is an enthralling look at one of America's most exciting designers.