July 4, 2008

Fashion Books for Summer Reading

I came across this Vogue article at stlye.com and loved it. For all you fashion gurus, here's a few books you should add to your summer reading list:

The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie (Knopf Canada, $26)

Florence was a bit off the beaten path for womenswear, but Diane von Furstenberg still chose the Tuscan capital, where her wrap dress was born, to hold her show. It put us into a Medici state of mind—which got us thinking about the latest offering from Salman Rushdie. On the short list for the Man Booker Prize, The Enchantress wends its way from Renaissance Italy to the court of Mughal emperor Akbar, and with its fantastical-historical blend of romance and globe-trotting exotica, it just might be 2008's perfect beach read.

The Alexandria Quartet
, Lawrence Durrell (Faber and Faber, $14)

Gilt-trimmed gowns for latter-day Cleopatras—you know, like J. Lo and Sienna—were on order at Marchesa. Fast-forward a couple millennia and Egypt has lost none of its allure…as proven by Lawrence Durrell's much-loved tetralogy. The four books (Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, and Clea) detail interlocking accounts of a love affair, and Durrell so vividly conjures the North African metropolis circa the 1940's that your body might be plodding along the L.I.E. on the Hampton Jitney, but your spirit will be soaring to the souk.

740 Park Avenue, Michael Gross (Broadway Books, $16.95)The Official Filthy Rich Handbook, Christopher Tennant (Workman Publishing, $11.95)
, Robert Frank (Crown, $24.95)

How do the women who live in Oscar de la Renta live? For a fascinating look into the Black Card and Clyde yacht world of zip code 10021, this trio of books offers a little of everything: Gross' gossipy account of the building that has housed Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, Bronfmans and Schwarzmans; Frank's look at the emotional complexities of new wealth; and Tennant's so-ironic-it-hurts primer, which spells out the secrets of the Upper East Side with annotated photographs.

The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter's Search for Home
, Bibi Gaston (William Morrow, $26.95)
The Unexpurgated Beaton: The Cecil Beaton Diaries as He Wrote Them, 1970-1980, Cecil Beaton (Knopf, $35)

Beaton's coolly flawless portraits might have been the spark for Erin Fetherston's tableaux vivants installed at Van Cleef & Arpels. That perfect surfaces can be deceiving is one of the points driven home in The Loveliest Woman, the sad story of a onetime debutante named Rosamond Pinchot Gaston, who was on intimate terms with "on tops" like Elizabeth Arden and David O. Selznick: She was "discovered" onboard a liner on the way home from France and seemed to be living a fairy tale…until her suicide at the age of 33. Less tragic, and ripe with gossip of the bon ton, whom he so ardently courted, are Beaton's own notoriously catty, and evergreen, diaries.

Three models in candy-colored dresses, shot by Cecil Beaton in 1948.

To read the full article, click here.

1 comment:

  1. oh ash I love you!! Your blog is way cute!! I miss you!!


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