While every industry has its ups and downs, fashion is the only industry that is up even when it’s down. Designers don’t stop designing, people won’t stop wearing clothes, the idea of looking new will not stop reocurring our minds. Even if an individual is not directly related to this industry, the curiosity of the vast glamourous art world bedazzles everyone. Reading real life stories of how certain labels became a global superpower or what a designer’s journey has been like or how your dream bag is made, is the most satisfying dream come true. For those who live for fashion probably do understand the rewarding feeling one experiences when hearing it from the horse’s mouth. It’s emotional and magical at the same time.
After years of reading, and a few of writing I have finally compiled top 10 books on fashion that are a must read. This list has been made primarily on the inspirational value, gripping stories, reality (in non-fiction) and imagery, and of course survey. Many question my priority and ask why I never indulge in a designer bag? For me possessing these books is a better investment than buying the author’s bags or shoes, because then their legacy is written forever in your shelf. You can buy all the scarves available but I know how to tie the scarf to perfection, as taught Dior – Astha Modi
1. Powder Room – Shefalee Vasudev – In India, fashion journalism comes along with this widely-saluted name. Her book ‘Powder Room’ was written in long form journalism style on aspects of modern India through fashion. Fashion in India have looked at the obvious – deconstructing fashion through trends or products. There seemed to be no book that used fashion as a tool, to look at popular culture, the re-appropriation of the new I
2. Cocoa Channel – If her quotes are circulated so much on social media, without any credibilty and genuinity, imagine reading authentic instances and dialogues, scandals and history about the Fashion Goddess herself. But not all the books are as good. We loved Vogue On: Coco Chanel and Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History.
3. Bottegga – Art of Collaboration — a project that invites a world-renowned photographer or contemporary artist to collaborate on the Italian brand’s campaign for each season. With more than a thousand photographs, this book chronicles the comprehensive series of creative partnerships since the beginning. Divided each seasonal campaign from 2002 to 2016, Bottega Veneta: Art of Collaboration documents the collaborations between Tomas Maier and all the artists who have contributed to the creation of Bottega Veneta’s advertising portfolio including Lord Snowdon, Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, Robert Longo, Nan Goldin, Nick Knight, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and others. Featuring some of today’s brightest visionaries working in photography, often from outside the world of fashion, Bottega Veneta: Art of Collaboration illustrates how they have each interpreted the house’s modernist aesthetic and material elegance, resulting in a book that will be an essential volume for photography aficionados.
4. Man Repeller – After reading this book, every girl will like herself more than they did right before starting the book. One of the top most fashion blogs in the world Man Repeller is now not just a website but a best-selling book as well. Leander Medine, a young girl trying to make it big in the fashion world faced the harsh reality of fashion being the reason she wasn’t finding love. It took a while but when she discovered that she was a walking man repeller, instead of complexes ruining her sanity, she owned it. And nailed it! She did not exchange her fringed boots with white pumps. She tried to but it met with a ‘shitty’ accident. So she was just herself and also added a white motor cycle leather jacket to her bridal gown. And today, from being an awkward Anna Hathaway of Devil wears Prada in Valentino office, she became the most-desired man repeller and managed to dodge of the title of Carrie Bradshaw that she started garnering because of a slight change in income and thus wardrobe.
5. Juicy Couture – ‘The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global Brand’ – Part memoir, part business manual, and 100% juicy—the inside story of Juicy Couture, one of the most iconic brands of our times.
6. Ugly Beauty – This is a fantastic account, Ruth Brandon, of the scandalous history behind L’Oreal, the world’s largest beauty company controlled the recently embattled billionaire Lilian Bettencourt. As you may recall, the modern cosmetics industry was significantly impacted a Polish Jew and a Frenchman with Nazi ties: Helena Rubinstein and Eugene Schueller, respectively. This book tells how they each founded a skincare business, succeeded beyond their dreams and then fought to preserve their empires. The interesting thing here is the difference in vision between Rubinstein and Schueller. While her business was founded on home remedies and her personal charisma, his developed after numerous scientific tests and lab work in his hair-dye shop. Schueller emerged victorious, of course; Brandon uses the conflict to question the standards of beauty and the role politics and business play in that arena. A good read.
7. The Little Black Book of Style – Nina Garcia helps you to explore your own fashion voice—the piece of you that joyously revels in the glamorous experience of creating your best self. From cultivating good taste to guarding against definite fashion faux pas, Nina Garcia offers readers the ultimate guide to follow when it comes to dressing their best. Including tips on how and when to wear an outfit, occasion-appropriate wear, advice on how to combine colors and textures, and inspiration on how to achieve your own signature look, you learn how to experiment, storyboard, archive, and play. Timeless and universal, this book seeks to remind women that eternal style is internal style, and that everyone has what it takes to discover themselves through the colorful palette that is fashion.
8. Champagne Supernovas – Get the inside scoop from the fashion crowd of the 90’s in Champagne Supernovas. Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen are the stars of the book alongside other luminaries who inspired 90’s fashion culture, like Kim Gordon and Isaac Mizrahi.
9. Culture to Catwalk – Kristin Knox’s book traces cross-cultural references from western designers around the world. From Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress as linked to traditional kimonos to Comme des Garcon taking inspiration from African textiles, reading Culture to Catwalk is one of the best possible ways to brush up on your contemporary fashion history.
10. The Little Dictionary of Fashion is your guide on how to be chic, as written Christian Dior. From how to walk with grace to how to tie a scarf perfectly, Dior’s words of advice are truly charming and timeless.
Besides the above list we also reccomend The Biba Years: 1963-1975, The End Of Fashion and Art Nouveau Fashion. If you have any further additions please leave a comment below.