As we navigate uncertain times, most of us take refuge in things that can help us escape, past time or better off, dream. Books have long been a great way to educationally entertain oneself. They are a special part of the world’s culture, in this particular case, the Fashion culture!
If you love or ever dreamed of Fashion, you probably would be interested in knowing more about this industry and the people that have contributed to defining it. Of course, a scroll thru Instagram may help you on trends and brands yet, the best way to dive deeper into fashion’s rich history is to pick up one of the dozens of amazing books in the subject.
There are so many great fashion-related reads on Fashion in the market, the most coveted are large-scale coffee-table books on designer retrospectives like the new “Yves Saint Laurent; The impossible collection”. Part of the publishing titan, Assouline’s Ultimate collection.
Yves Saint Laurent; The impossible collection will take you on an incredible journey through the legendary designer’s 100 most iconic pieces selected by French journalist and Yves Saint Laurent’s connoisseur Laurence Benaim. You’ll be able to (re)discover the Mondrian shift dress, the black dress with white collar and cuffs for the film Belle de Jour, the tributes to Picasso, Matisse, and van Gogh, the tailored pantsuits and much more.
Assouline was the first to place books surrounding fashion, on the map. In the 1990s, they introduced the Icons collection that spotlighted a designer with each book, doing so in an innovative and contemporary way. This collection proved to be a huge success, as it was well-received and in turn, they now sell each book in 10 different languages. These books are true gems that are very well constructed and edited while avoiding the banality of typical runway images.
Talking with it’ the founder; Martine Assouline, we digress on her take on these marvelous books:
Are there any fashion books that are always on the top-selling list?
Our most sought-after work is the Chanel Slipcase (Set of 3) which we regularly update in volumes. After that, comes the highly acclaimed Dior Series, which we initially began producing years ago and is yet to be completed in terms of volumes. This is due to the fact that we create one book per designer, and after having published four volumes of existing designers already, we are still in the process of completing an additional one surrounding John Galliano with Andrew Bolton as the author by the end of this year.
Can you mention any all-time collectibles?
This would include titles such as Portraits By David Seidner, The Givenchy Style, and Veruschka: The Ultimate Collection are some books that although we no longer have available, I still sometimes see in collectible book fairs at incredible prices. I think the Dior Series and Franca: Chaos And Creation will soon reach this level of rare collectibles. The Dior series is so special because it is very much like a catalog raisonné of Dior’s creations, while Franca: Chaos And Creation represents an era of freedom and invention in fashion within the pages of Vogue Italia including the works of the best, most iconic photographers like Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh and other incredible stylists and writers.
We do have other notable titles that would absolutely fit the realm of collectibles, such as Chanel: The Impossible Collection and Yves Saint Laurent: The Impossible Collection – however, we produce smaller quantities overall of such books.
What are your recommendations for caring for precious books?
We recommend to place or store each book away from excessive sun exposure and humidity – this is key. We also encourage readers to handle them with special care as well placed wherever you’d prefer, but in an area where it is easy to find.
Which recommendations do you have on books with more context? And more images?
Each book deserves the utmost respect for what it is conveying and all of the hard work put into creating by its dedicated team. Some books may be made with more savoir-fair, attention to details, and tastefully – which naturally puts them in a more luxe category. But in any case, a book is a book, and must always warrant respect – because it is always a worthy possession.
Thinking of most designers’ and artist’s childhoods, it was a book or a magazine that lit the fire of the torch of passion for fashion that they now carry. A book is timeless even in the digital era. Whether is a gift, a purchase, or a random encounter with it, a fashion book suggests a lifestyle and if a fashionable life is that you crave, then a book it’s a place to start.