Tuesday, December 29, 2015

the 10 Best Reads for 2015



As a respected, seasoned and recognized reviewer of books  ( New York Journal of Books) dealing with international fashion and style, it seemed timely to offer my choices for the best reads of 2015 when it comes to the subject of fashion in its broadest sense.




The selections below have all been released and are quite worthy of reading as well as owning. The subjects deal with fashion and style as seen via some of the great fashion icons of the century as well as those who contributed to this ever growing category.




Fashion has evolved and will continue to evolve in a way that has become much more inclusive as it is no longer only the territory for designers and of apparel. Fashion in its current configuration includes fine jewelry, Time pieces, collectors and aficionados of couture as well those involved in the world of media.




So without any further explanation, here’s hoping for  great new year filled with fashion and style. By the way, there are no bad choices here.




1-‘Vacheron Constantin: The Artists of Time Box Edition’ by Franco Cologni

… Saying or thinking that Vacheron Constantin makes watches is like saying Michelangelo was a ceiling painter. Vacheron Constaintin is a manufacturer and purveyor of some of the world’s most coveted horological time pieces as well an innovator within this rarefied sphere of mechanics and design…




2-‘If These Jewels Could Talk: The Legends Behind Celebrity Gems’ by Beth Bernstein

… One of the great successes and joys of this season is If These Jewels Could Talk. Bernstein is a gifted storyteller who offers history, gossip, and biographical information on the jewelry itself, its various owners, and possibly even the provenance of a particularly large stone …



3-‘Dior by Dior Deluxe Edition: The Autobiography of Christian Dior’ by Christian Dior

… This is the most intimate story of a world class designer as well as a man who loved his gardens and every single piece of haute couture that he ever created. He considered his creations to be his children, and once they were shown, they were the children who had left home to start another life…



4-‘Philip Treacy’  by Philip Treacy

… There are no words to adequately describe this book or my reaction to this book but I am willing to try. Philip Treacy is a rarity among designers as he is an original. His creations are far beyond the fantastical and of a quality that is as rare as a rooster with socks on! BUT, I digress, this is coffee table book but chock a block with such arresting images and of such quality that the reader is rendered awestruck and slack jawed and that is just the beginning…



5-‘Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman: The Bazaar Years, 1936–1962’ by Alexander Vreeland

… Apparently there is an inexhaustible supply of material when it comes to the subject of Diana Vreeland. There is only one other name that comes to mind who can rival the amount of  ink devoted to a fashion personality and that is Christian Dior. Having read countless books dealing with the woman referred to as the “empress of fashion,” it becomes startlingly clear that she was endlessly captivating, inspiring, and prescient in so many ways…



6-‘Art and Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons’ by E.P. Cutler & Julien Tomasello

… Next up is the content, which can only be defined as educational, entertaining, visually arresting, and informative. Cutler and Tomasello raise the question of whether or not fashion is an art form or if art be fashion. Remember that these types of collaborations with artists and those in fashion go back to the turn of the 20th century so it would be a mistake to toss off a casual answer. The authors have made their case on all fronts… 



7-‘Ingenue to Icon: 70 Years of Fashion from the Collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post’ by Howard Vincent Kurtz

… C. W. Post told his daughter in so many words, “Don’t let the money rule you . . . don’t let it possess you.” C. W. was the Post of Post cereals, General Mills, and C. W. Post College just to name a few of his notable accomplishments. His daughter was none other than Marjorie Merriweather Post who was nothing if not an obedient daughter of privilege who lived her life with maximum éclat and grace among surroundings befitting American royalty. Ingenue to Icon pays tribute to one of America’s most stylish and famous personalities…



8- ‘Electric Fashion’ by Frederic Aranda & Christine Suppes

… Electric Fashion stands alone in the genre of fashion monographs as this is a book that can be appraised and applauded on multiple levels. Suppes and Aranda describe this project as a journey, but this is an unbelievably intimate demonstration of one woman’s adoration of fashion with her “partner in crime.” Together, they have created one of the great fashion books to have come along in this millennium to date …



9-Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty’ by Robert Lacey

… Lacey is to be commended because he has provided much more than just a snapshot of a life well lived by absorbing the reader into the life of Eileen Ford, warts and all. This is not a fluff book that only tells the reader of how great she was but it also offers the reader a chance to realize that not everyone is perfect nor do they always make the correct decisions no matter how great their eventual success…



10- Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis’ by Fern Mallis

…Fern Mallis has brilliantly compiled her interviews from the 92 Street Y series and Rizzoli was sage enough to publish them and the combination produces a book that brings a very personal, insightful and very human and sometimes intimate side to a business that is often considered vapid and superficial…



For the full reviews please see my pages at www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/jeffrey-felner

PS. they are in no particular order of recommednation