For the fashion crowd, the onset of summer is synonymous with a blitzkrieg of nonfunctional bathing suits, mass exodus to the Hamptons, and a spate of new poolside reads. Whether you're jonesing for a scholarly tome on the semiotics of dress or a chick-lit guilty pleasure, we’ve rounded up the summer's best fashion books...
Crazy Rich Asians
A corollary to Nesi’s tragic tale of European decline (see below), Kevin Kwan’s debut novel lampoons, with a satirist's eye, the outlandish lifestyles and conspicuous consumption of a new class of fashion-obsessed Chinese and Singaporean billionaires.
Fashion and Orientalism: Dress, Textiles and Culture from the 17th to the 21st Century
Taking a leaf out of Edward Said’s scholarly classic, Adam Geczy looks at how the West’s observations, mythologies, and distortions of Asian cultures have influenced fashion, from nineteenth century Japonisme to the present day.
Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns
The much-anticipated sequel to Lauren Weisberger’s chick-lit bestseller “The Devil Wears Prada” promises to be a breezy beach read, if not much else. After heroically throwing in the towel at Runway Magazine, bride-to-be Andy Sachs teams up with her former archrival Emily to head a successful bridal magazine, until a secret letter threatens to bring the satanic editrix Miranda Priestly back into her life.
In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion
The rise of the moneyed merchant class in Western Europe in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries made for some crazy fashion trends. Using surviving textiles and old master paintings as her guide, curator Anna Reynolds looks back at the ruffs, breeches, and farthingales that were at the height of style.
Performer and camp fashion icon Wladzlu Valentino Liberace is having quite a renaissance, thanks to Michael Douglas’s performance in “Behind the Candelabra.” This opulent coffee-table book does the flamboyant fashion icon justice with over 150 full-color photographs of his sequins, ruffles, feathers, buttons, and bowties, plus a foreword from Michael Travis, Liberace’s personal designer.
Story of My People
Equal parts personal memoir and political polemic, novelist Edoardo Nesi’s story of the decline of Italian manufacturing sheds light on fashion’s place in Europe’s financial crisis. The son of textile designers in Prato, Tuscany, Nesi forms a sharp and timely indictment of runaway globalization, fast fashion, and big business.
The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France (July 2, 2013)
This heady intellectual historical tome looks back at the origins of the fashion show, connecting it to a new sensibility that critical theorist Walter Benjamin deemed the “new velocity” of modern life. Fashion historian Caroline Evans argues that the birth of the fashion show coincided with the birth of modernism itself.
Out July 2, 2013
Interviews with Terry Jones, Holly Shackleton, Jo-Ann Furniss and Ben Reardon accompany this beautifully illustrated monograph devoted the fashion's reigning king of glunge (for the unitiated, that's glamour plus grunge).
Out July 15, 2013
Walter Van Beirendonck: Dream the World Awake
Released in conjunction with a retrospective at Antwerp's Fashion Museum, this lush coffee-table book charts the oeuvre of gender-bending provocateur and iconoclastic Antwerp Six member Walter Van Beirendonck. Texts by fashion scribes Tim Blanks, Hettie Judah, Cornelia Lauf, Robyn Healy, Valerie Steele and Kaat Debo accompany lush photographs by Anton Corbijn, Nick Knight, Jürgen Teller, and David Bailey.
Out July 30, 2013
The Man Repeller: Seeking Love: Finding Overalls
From drop-crotch shorts to turbans, celebrity blogger and fashion satirist Leandra Medine meditates on a life of sartorial choices that have alienated and confused the opposite sex. The sassy self-deprecating tomb celebrates the bizarre, awkward, and fabulous outfits that leave men scratching their heads.
Out September 10, 2013