I can’t even begin to tell you how fun this book is. Fashion–literally–it girl Alexa Chung’s part memoir//part scrapbook//part style guide is exactly the sort of piece I would want to put together if I ever had the chance to be published. I could hardly put it down over the course of a weekend, and now I’m constantly grabbing it for inspiration.
I don’t think it was until I read this book that I realized what an impact the Spice Girls, Britney Spears circa Baby One More Time, and even Wednesday Addams had on the female world. Chung is hysterically honest in her analysis of the past few decades of fashion and the effect they had on her career in the industry. And at the same time, she makes you stop and think, huh, where did my flair for flannel come from?**
But then there’s a whole lot of just plain old fun photos and sketches as well.
It really is such a fun, witty read. Pick it up for yourself or to give any gal with even just the slightest interest in fashion.
By Alexa Chung
Penguin Books, 2013
**My flair for flannel definitely came from my grandpa. It all makes sense now.
I have such an adoration for great fashion illustrations. Must have come from my grandmother, who was always sketching the sweetest little snippets— handbags, high heels, my old ballet shoes even. So I fell in love with this recent title The Hundred Dresses, with commentary by Erin McKean and illustrations by Donna Mehalko. 100 dresses fill its pages… a sketch, description, and history of each, plus which fashionistas wore it, and how you should accessorize it.
Flipping through the pages, you’ll find iconic pieces, like the Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Bond Girl, the Marilyn, and the Pretty Woman. You’ll see classic shapes that you always attribute to a certain wearer or designer, like the Caftan (Elizabeth Taylor), or the Wrap Dress (Diane von Furstenberg). And you’ll find gowns that you never ever realized were icons before, like The First Oscar (worn by Renee Zellweger, Rooney Mara, Jennifer Lawrence, and Marion Cotillard— check now and you’ll laugh!).
McKean has rounded up, give or take, the most famous dresses from the past century, from the June Cleaver to the J.Lo to the Jersey Shore. Only disappointment? No sign of a “Lilly” or “The Shift.” Other than that, this is a pretty darn comprehensive guide. Read (or, admittedly, browse the photos) for pleasure, or use it as the ultimate dress resource and field guide.
The Hundred Dresses
By Erin McKean
Illustrated by Donna Mehalko
If you’ve been here before, my weakness for kate spade New York should come as no surprise to you. I’ve been a little bit in love with the brand since I was about 9 years old, visiting Canal Street in New York City for the first time (so yes, fine, the first Kate Spade bags I fell in love with did happen to be well-designed knockoffs… minor detail). Over the last twenty years, the brand has seen some changes, specifically in creative direction, with Deborah Lloyd replacing Kate herself as the new Chief Creative Officer after Fifth and Pacific Companies bought the brand in 2007. Yet they have remained true to their colorful roots. Things We Love commemorates the 20th anniversary of Kate Spade, showcasing all of the little elements that inspire the company’s persona and designs.
From polka dots to cocktails, each chapter is dedicated to a single love of the brand and team. The book is absolutely beautiful, and I think I could flip through it a dozen more times and still find new pieces of vibrant inspiration.
kate spade New York: Things We Love
Foreword by Glenda Bailey, Introduction by Deborah Lloyd
Edited by Deborah Aaronson & Rebecca Kaplan
ABRAMS Books, 2013
Last week, I attended an event at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in which I got to hear Hamish Bowles, International Editor at Large of Vogue, speak about his many years of experience working with fashion photographer Mario Testino, whose work is currently on display at the MFA [see my review of the exhibit here]. Mr. Bowles joined American Vogue in 1992 as a style editor, and it was so interesting to get a glimpse of the magazine over his last 20 years of working there– through his stories and Testino’s photos. What’s more amazing than that though, is the 120+ years of history Vogue has.
I’ve had such fun browsing through the 100 iconic covers featured in the card set I received around the holidays, Postcards from Vogue. In addition to Mario Testino, the postcards also feature covers done by Annie Leibovitz, Irving Penn, Salvador Dali, and more. You’ll spy many leading ladies from over the years, from Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy all the way to Lady Gaga. Since the event at the MFA, it’s been even more fascinating looking at the covers from 1992 on, knowing a little more about the styling and photography behind them. My only problem now is finding enough wall space to display them all!
Postcards from Vogue: 100 Iconic Covers
By Vogue Editors
Penguin Books, 2012
Photos from the MFA event, featuring my darling friends Zoe of Fashion is Freedom and Courtney of Those Graces. Read Zoe’s recap of the event here.
Despite my lack of coffee table, I am all for stocking up on fun coffee table books. Right now, I am loving Vahram Muratyan’s Paris versus New York: The Complete Series of Two Cities, inspired by his blog of the same name. You all know how much I adore Boston and London, yet NYC and Pari will always have special places in my heart as well. Muratyan’s charming prints depicting the two most loved cities are so simple, yet so clever. This new Penguin deluxe edition featured 35 brand new illustrations, and I don’t think I will ever get sick of flipping through it.
Paris versus New York: The Complete Series of Two Cities
By Vahram Muratyan
Penguin Books, 2012
(1) Anchor Scarf, J.Crew, $98
(2) Make the Rounds Delacorte Bangle, Kate Spade, $295
(3) Nouveau Richard Backpack, ModCloth, $60
(4) Cooperative Convertible Critter Gloves, Urban Outfitters, $20
(5) Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever, via Anthropologie, $23
(6) Bygone Blackboard, Anthropologie, $58
(7) Chanel Three Book Set by Francois Baudot, ShopBop, $75
(8) Bow Ski Hat, Kate Spade, $61
(9) Mix & Munch Flatware Set, Present Time via ModCloth, $27
(10) Chalkboard Spice Jar, Anthropologie, $7
And that does it for the gift guides! You can find them archived here or on Pinterest, and please do tell me what some of your favorite items were!
I’m also over on La vie… J’aime today, sharing some of the little treats I wouldn’t mind finding in my stocking on Christmas morning. Head on over to see!
Cupcakes and Cashmere is both the first fashion– and first food– blog that I ever followed. I don’t even know how many years I’ve been reading it, but I do know that I read it every day. Even on those busy mornings when I neglect every other blog in my reader, C&C just begs for me to click on it. It is Emily Shuman’s work that inspired me to start my own fashion blog, that influences how + what I write about on my company’s food blog, and that motivates me to become a better writer, photographer, stylist, cook, baker, and entertainer on a daily basis.
I could not be more excited that her infamous blog is now a book, especially because I’ve been waiting for it to arrive since the day I preordered it about six months ago! Divided into four sections based on the four seasons, Emily shares the same sort of tips that her blog does: how to dress for any occasion, how to organize your closet, how to entertain on a moment’s notice, how to give a flawless at-home manicure, how to find your perfect photograph pose.
I can already tell how quickly this book is going to turn into my go-to guide throughout the year. I’m sure you’ll see me incorporating elements of it on here… maybe we’ll even do a little experiment Julie + Julia style… Emily + Emily?? :)
Cupcakes & Cashmere is now available from Abrams Books and can be purchased [as soon as possible] wherever books are sold!
Got this beauty in the mail last week:
Now I can’t say I’m Lauren Conrad’s biggest fan. But boy, girl can dress. And the book is fun because she breaks down the list of what every closet needs. According to Lauren, there are six types of essential shoes:
Steve Madden, $66 (sale!)
Chinese Laundry, $59
Sam Edelman, $90 (sale!)
Steve Madden, $99
Ballet Flats//Basic Pumps//Peep Toes//Embellished//Gladiators//Boots
There’s a few more I think I’d add if it were my list, but more on that next Tuesday ;)
Buy your own copy of the book here!