The Best Fashion Books

In July 2018, The Guardian reported a 31% rise in hardback book sales. Considering this alongside stories becoming viral and the ‘shelfie’ trend on Instagram being inescapable, books that not only read great but look beautiful are more coveted than ever. With this in mind, it is undoubtable that fashion based books offer some of the most fascinating stories and stunning imagery from cover to cover. So, whether you are a fashion student or aspiring designer, here is a shortlist of some of the best fashion books you must read now.

 

Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between

Recognised as one of the world’s most influential designers, this book invites you to re-think fashion. With insightful quotes and interviews, readers will learn about Kawakubo’s personal views as a feminist and her artistic process, covering all the stops from her collections and exhibitions to the MET Gala. An educational and enticing read for anyone interested in wanting to learn more about the enigmatic mind behind Comme des Garçons.

£35.00 at Waterstones

Chanel: Collections and Creations

This book is divided into six iconic sections – the suit, perfume, jewellery, makeup, the little black dress and the camellia – which all explore the evolution of the French fashion house’s inimitable designs. Pages are covered with a mixture of exclusive photographs and original drawings, making this a must-read for any Coco and Karl fanatic.

£29.95 at Waterstones

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

One of the world’s most imaginative and influential designers, Alexander McQueen always challenged fashion conventions. Savage Beauty contains personal history as well as McQueen’s mesmerising collections featuring iconic designs, specialised techniques, technological innovation, runway presentations, installations, interviews and quotes from the man himself. McQueen’s work is born out of his own passions and the book cleverly mirrors this by maintaining an intimate, personal angle.

£35.00 at Waterstones

Accidental Icon – Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel conveys her own journey from her wonderful escapades as a young girl to her career as a fashion journalist, an interior designer and an “accidental icon”. Complete with brilliant photography and graphic design, the book perfectly befits this “geriatric starlet” and her passion for design, fashion and the all important accessories that she wears with such style. Her great sense of humour is palpable in every page and will leave you beaming from ear to ear with inspiration.

£25.00 at Waterstones

Gods & Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano – Dana Thomas

The acclaimed journalist Dana Thomas tells the true story of McQueen and Galliano, recalling the revolutionary turning points in high fashion and the price it demanded from the very people who saved it. It is an incredibly well documented book including testimonies of close relatives and detailed descriptions of the designs on the runways, chronologically progressing from the designer’s births to McQueen’s death and Galliano’s fall. Despite featuring few images, its compellingly informative style in equal measure for both fashion innovators deems it a good investment.

£9.99 at Waterstones

#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso 

Sophia Amoruso, CEO and founder of Nasty Gal, went from committing petty theft and scrounging for food to owning a $250 million dollar fashion retail company. She has written this book for girls like her, advising readers on how to carve a unique path to success and how being successful has nothing to do with what college you went to or how popular you were. Her incredibly hardworking attitude makes this book completely inspirational, filled with candid anecdotes and bold, witty humour.

£9.99 at Waterstones

Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet

Doing what it says on the tin, this book takes you through the history of fashion, offering styling advice and tips on how to evolve your wardrobe. It is also filled with hilarious quotes only Tim Gunn could say, such as: “At malls, I am tempted to set up the fashion equivalent of a guns-for-cash or needle exchange booth and call through a bullhorn: ‘throw your cargo capris into the flaming trash can, step behind the screen and claim your wrap dress!’ I would find it very cathartic…albeit very hot beside the pyre give the ubiquity of the look.” A must-add to your book collection.

£18.99 at Waterstones

The Corset: A Cultural History

Valerie Steele, a Yale PhD academic, gives a detailed insight into the history of corsets and their influence on fashion, from the Middle Ages to the modern day. A particularly interesting chapter discusses the medical implications of wearing a corset. It provides a very thought-provoking view of attitudes over the centuries towards one of the most controversial garments in the history of fashion.

£18.99 at Waterstones

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion – Elizabeth Cline

Cline strives to unearth the true identity of the cheap fashion behemoth, tracing the surge of budget apparel stores, the death of middle-market self reliant retailers and the origins of our unhealthy obsessions with steals and deals. She travels to low cost Chinese factories and follows the industry as they pursue even lower costs in Bangladesh and analyses the impact. The book is completely eye opening in regards to fast fashion, prompting readers to be more responsible buyers, thinking before they shop and question what alternative measures can be taken.

£18.99 at Waterstones

The Asylum: True Tales of Madness from a Life in Fashion – Simon Doonan

Author and fashion insider Simon Doonan provides an insight into the relentless fashion industry through a hilarious collection of essays. His light-hearted retellings are contrasted with poignant observations on how fashion interacts with subjects such as body image and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. His writing is extremely enthralling and his storytelling style make him an incredibly likeable narrator.

£12.12 at Amazon.co.uk

Love x Style x Life – Garance Dore

This book is about much more than style and beauty. Garance Dore talks about what it is to feel like a confident woman, loving yourself through personal style. Its light-hearted tone includes short interviews conducted with women that inspire Dore and some stunning illustrations by the author herself. In her own words, “Let me take you on a journey to the essence of style, from the outside (How to wear a jean jacket?) to the deepest parts (How to love someone?). I’ve learned that real style comes down to one question: What makes a person beautiful?”. It is a great read leaving any reader feeling empowered.

£16.99 at Waterstones

In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine

In Vogue is a fascinating insight into the hugely influential fashion magazine. The book highlights outstanding covers and archival work from past Vogue editions, showcasing the work of some of the most revered artists, illustrators and photographers of the twentieth century. It tells the stories of the women who made the magazine what it is today and gives you a greater understanding and appreciation of the publication.

£45.00 at Waterstones

 

Which book has caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Text: Ananya Jain

Images: Pinterest, Goodreads, @cocorocha on Instagram

 

 

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