Editors’ Holiday Pick: Ten Coffee Tables Books for Fashionistas

It’s time for some last-minute holiday shopping. But it’s freezing, and you’re already backed with some many holiday duties. Get into your comfy jammies, brew yourself a nice cup of tea (or pour yourself a glass of wine) and check out these amazing fashion tabletop books that will have anyone squealing with joy.

Fashion Reverie will include an Amazon link to each item but Amazon is pretty slammed this time of year. Be sure to check delivery times and consider smaller independent outlets like powells.com or strandbooks.com. Can’t get it delivered by Christmas? These holiday treats are worth the wait.

Vogue: Living Country City Coast

Our first book is extravagantly illustrated with stunning photographs of breathtaking homes and gardens belonging to titans of the fashion, design, art, and society. Celebrated photographers including François Halard, Oberto Gili, Mario Testino, and others captured the images in this book. If this tome doesn’t inspire you to make redecoration your home your New Year’s resolution, I don’t know what will! 

Handbags: A Love Story: Legendary Designs from Azzedine Alaïa to Yves Saint Laurent

Fashion Reverie knows that handbags are vital, not just as a practical way to transport items but to display your taste and complete your outfit. This extravagant full-color anthology by renowned designer Monica Botkier celebrates 70 years of the most coveted handbags from world-famous designers and legendary international couture houses.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen was one of the most influential, provocative, controversial, and imaginative figures of the 20th century, using the lens of fashion to challenge notions of sexuality, gender, class, religion, and technology. Developed as a companion piece to Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition (compiled by the Costume Institute) on his work, Savage Beauty follows McQueen’s career from a struggling designer to his triumph as a leading London fashion house. Andrew Bolton examines McQueen’s groundbreaking work marrying the worlds of fashion, technology, and performance art.


 Grace: The American Vogue Years 

The legendary work of American Vogue editor Grace Coddington is showcased in this elegant publication that features the work of seventeen accomplished photographers who have worked with Coddington. This book is not inexpensive, but it is an investment that will bring beauty to your home for years.

Helmut Newton: SUMO, Revised by June Newton XL 

Measuring almost two feet long and weighing 65 pounds (in hardcover) this tribute to one of the fashion industry’s most intriguing, and influential artists of all time is a true work of art. You can find used copies online that will shave the price down on this book which some reviews have referred to as a “piece of history,” featuring 480 images.

Juergen Teller: Woo! 

This paperback is one of the more affordable options for the holidays.  The idea for this publication came about as an extension of the exhibition Juergen Teller: Woo! held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 2013. This an assortment of images spanning a 20-year period, including family portraits, magazine assignments, ad campaigns, landscapes and various personal projects. Teller is notorious for his rejection of the ultra-slick glamorous images fashion prefers, embracing more unpolished gritty aesthetic.

Yves Saint Laurent 

Yves Saint Laurent’s instantly recognizable designs were some of the biggest influences on fashion for the second half of the 20th century. Published in hardcover in 2010, Yves Saint Laurent, the first comprehensive retrospective of his life’s work, was created as an accompaniment for an exhibition of some 250 garments from the collection of the Fondation Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent at the Petit Palais in Paris.

Tom Ford 

Tom Ford has emerged as a powerful voice in fashion and pop culture. In 2008, Ford compiled this book of designs himself showcasing his early years at Yves Saint Laurent to his move to Gucci. His designs increased sales at Gucci tenfold and have helped build the Gucci brand into the luxury goods conglomerate that it is today.

Elsa Schiaparelli’s Private Album 

It is downright criminal more people aren’t aware of the amazing Elsa Schiaparelli. Elsa Schiaparelli is one of the most important couturiers and taste-makers of the 20th century. She numbered among her collaborators the artists Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard, and Marcel Vernet, resulting in such extraordinary couture collaborations as the lobster and parsley dress, based on a print by Salvador Dalí, and the Circus collection of gold-embroidered jackets, based on drawings by Cocteau. Marisa Berenson reveals her private archive of pictures of her much-loved grandmother’s house in all its wit and eccentricity.

Charles James: Designer in Detail 

Charles James (1906–1978) with his innovative ideas and huge personality was one of the most sought-after couturiers of his day.  Without formal training, he created some of the most ambitious and dramatic couture of the 20th century. This table top book by Timothy Long features illustrations, new garment photography, and archival material, as well as examining James’ geometric rigor and passion for materials.

Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People 

The first Monday in May is a legendary day in New York as it’s the day of the social event of the season, the ultra glamorous Met Gala. It serves as an opening day for the Costume Institute’s new exhitbit.   The show’s opening-night gala, produced in collaboration with Vogue magazine and attended by the likes of Beyoncé, George Clooney, and Hillary Clinton, is regularly referred to as the East Coast Party of the Year. Authored and edited by Hamish Bowles, Chloe Malle with an introduction by Anna Wintour, the book covers the Costume Institute’s history, providing behind the scenes access. This tome presents the Costume Institute’s exhibits alongside the Vogue photo shoots that inspired them.


—Cameron Rose Grey


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