If the The Devil Wears Prada phenomenon proved anything, it was that the ins and outs of the fashion industry are a perennial fascination, even for those of us (ahem) who have more fast fashion than couture in our closets. Whether you’ll be sitting front row at the runway or have yet to see the inside of a NYFW tent, these books offer unparalleled insider access to what goes on with the models, the designers, and the tastemakers during fashion’s most exciting week.
Fashion week as we know it didn’t really come into existence until 1993, when the key designers of the day agreed to show their collections in one location: Bryant Park. From the mid ’90s until NYFW’s move to the Lincoln Center in 2011, every serious sartorial moment happened inside these tents. Filled with gorgeous photos of the runway, the audiences, and the backstage antics, this modern history of the Golden Age of fashion is essential context for the week—especially given the seemingly ubiquitous ’90s references that have been holding fast in recent collections.
Investigative journalism that reads like a guilty pleasure, this entry into Imogen Edwards-Jones “Babylon” series exposes all the guilty secrets of the fashion industry, from where the inspiration for collections really comes from to just how much thought (and stress) goes into the creation of a show’s seating chart.
Street Fashion Photography
Combine off-duty model looks with fabulous attendees on their way to the shows, and it’s hard to deny: The sidewalk is competing more and more with the catwalk as a major source of stylish inspiration. Whether you’re looking for tips to get noticed or hoping to snap the best-dressed yourself, this is a great guide to capturing street style (and the included photos are pretty ingenious fashion fodder, too).
Fans of The Devil Wears Prada will love this real-life account of a Vogue Australia editor’s ascension from the reception desk to the top of the masthead, filled with plenty of name dropping, fashion wish-fulfillment, and surprisingly relatable anecdotes.
From her days as a model in Paris to her current role as Vogue’s creative director, Grace Coddington’s memoir provides a profoundly intimate account of her life among the fashion jet set. Her career coincides with the explosion of the fashion industry into a global phenomenon, and she expertly weaves her personal life story with insights into the industry.
From an anonymous clothes horse on the runway to one of the few faces that become ubiquitous in magazines and billboards (Gigi and Kendall, I’m looking at you), this book provides a sociological analysis into the industry that turns youth and beauty into commodities. The best part? The book was written by a model-turned-academic researcher, so personal experiences within the industry resonate throughout.
One of the most legendary icons of modern fashion, Isabella Blow’s stylish eccentricity put her—and the designers she championed, like Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen—on the map. While her personal life was marred by a battle with severe depression and a tragic early death, her passion, courage, and singular taste remain incredibly inspirational.
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