The Reading List

Portraits in Fashion Norman Parkinson  

I know I could constantly use suggestions on what new fashion books are worth buying, so here are a couple of new discoveries, as well as a few recently or soon to be released options which not only promise to be interesting reads, but also double as great coffee table volumes.

Norman Parkinson’s innovative photography moved beyond the stiffness of the times and captured an easy elegance and liveliness, and an authentic spirit. He was one of the pioneer photographers who took the models out of the confines of the studio and into far flung locations all over the world. Norman Parkinson: Portraits in Fashion is updated with additional unforgettable Parkinson photographs, including a striking collection of Audrey Hepburn images to coincide with the National Portrait Gallery’s Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon exhibition in the UK, from July 2nd to October 18th.
 
Vogue on Giorgio Armani  
In case waiting for the release of this book seems too long (guilty as charged), here is another one, already available from the beginning of this month, celebrating one of the world’s greatest designers on his 40th year in fashion: Vogue on Giorgio Armani . The story of Giorgio Armani and his distinctive style, accompanied by first-class photographs and illustrations from the Vogue archive.
 
1940s fashion the definitive sourcebook  
This publication is not new, as it was released two years ago, but given its topic, I don’t know how it has escaped me so far. The 40’s are not only one of the most glamorous decades, but also one that saw an explosion of contemporary forward-looking fashions. 1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook promises to offer a comprehensive overview on those times, from the austerity fashions of the war, to Dior’s New Look and the rise of Hollywood glamour.
 
Yves Saint Laurent and Halston  
Two designers who shaped the revolutionary 70’s and, in fact, modern fashion. Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the ’70s examines side by side the careers of Yves Saint Laurent and Halston, and this makes perfect sense. I can see many similarities between the designs and influences of the two and I must confess I like to see American and French fashion treated equally. I am expecting an engaging analysis from authors Patricia Mears and Emma McClendon.
 
Styling the Stars  
Styling the Stars: Treasures from the Twentieth Century Fox Archive, by Angela Cartwright and Tom McLaren, is another classic Hollywwod style-themed book, a stunning collector’s volume of both film and fashion photography that takes you through the indisputable sense of style classic Hollywood films had. I am in! Providing a striking record of the evolution of Hollywood fashion from the Thirties to the Seventies, this book takes you backstage into the intimate world of the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant and Paul Newman – I love that it doesn’t leave men’s style out.
 
Dior by Avedon  
Dior by Avedon: Richard Avedon’s most memorable images of Dior fashions and portraits from the ’40s through the ’70s. I, for one, can certainly find a place on my shelf for yet another tome of some of the most famed fashion photography.

photos (left in each collage): Norman Parkinson, 1954, featuring Enid Boulting in a Hardy Amies suit / 2-Aldo Fallai / 2-unknown (Rita Hayworth, 1941) / Francesco Scavullo for Vogue, April 1973, featuring Lauren Hutton in a Halston dress / movie still from Niagra (1953), 20th Century Fox / Richard Avedon


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