Fine print: our type of fashion books
A stylish stack of monographs, tomes and limited edition titles take pride of place on the Wallpaper* fashion desk. Here, we take a sartorial saunter through our favourite page-turning volumes...
Prada Catwalk, by Susannah Frankel, Thames & Hudson
When it comes to a Prada catwalk show, fans of the Milanese label delight in decoding the various archive Prada-isms which appear in each collection, be it S/S 1996’s icky ‘Formica’ prints, S/S 2000’s tessellated lipstick pattern, a heavy brown shoe or a pleated knee length skirt. Now, a new tome houses all of the brand’s catwalk collections in one place, from Miuccia Prada’s debut A/W 1988 runway offering, with its school girl simplicity and utilitarian tailoring, to her S/S 2019 collection, boasting bourgeois takes on its signature nylon fabric, chubby Alice bands and swathes of grunge green satin. The Thames & Hudson published volume, written by fashion critic Susannah Frankel offers commentary on each collection featured, and boasts over 1,300 illustrations, making it the perfect printed tool for Prada fans everywhere, vying to decode the designer’s famed aesthetic, her obsessions and eccentricities and the brand’s boundary-breaking sensibility.
Tokyo Trance, by Cecilie Bahnsen and Josefine Seifert, Moon
‘I feel there is something cinematic and poetical seeing my dresses on Tokyo streets,’ says Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen of the theme of her latest publication, which seems Instagram-cast Japanese modes Natsumi Sekine, Macoto Tanaka and Megumu wearing her cloud-light, quilted and delicately floral embellished designs around the capital’s streets. This image-focused volume, lensed by Josefine Seifert – conventionally a travel photographer – features atmospheric snaps of Tokyo’s backstreets, from the dense electrical cables and blooming roses which festoon its suburban passages, to its tile-lined subways and escalators. Ethereal yet everyday, intimate yet expansive, it offers an insider’s peek into the city which Copenhagen-based Bahnsen has such an affinity with, in terms of Japan’s famed focus on simplicity, craftsmanship and functionality. ‘In a sense it’s about going back to the starting point of my inspiration and the place where my collection first found a home in the world,’ she adds.
Tokyo Trance is available exclusively at Dover Street Market with any Cecilie Bahnsen purchase across all stores
Chanel: The Impossible Collection, by Alexander Fury
It’s fitting that this clamshell-cased tome, measuring nearly fifty centimeters in length, is purchased with a complimentary pair of white gloves. For Chanel: The Impossible Collection is a bookshelf treasure equal to the house’s signature bouclé tweed suit or its 2.55 handbag. This enormous edition is a tribute to the famed Parisian maison; its glossy pages packed with fashion show shots, magazine editorials, newspaper cuttings, illustrations and portraits. As part of the volume, author and fashion critic Alexander Fury has also selected 100 iconic looks that represent the house, from the Little Black Dress to the day suit. ‘Let them copy. My ideas belong to everyone. I refuse no one’. Gabrielle Chanel, told The New York Times in January 1971. It’s hard to refuse this book too.
Fashion Central Saint Martins, by Hywel Davies, and Cally Blackman
Thames & Hudson
Alexander McQueen, Phoebe Philo, Wallpaper* October issue Guest Editor Hussein Chalayan: some of the most lauded, experimental and innovative designers in the world began their fashion lives in the hallowed halls of Central Saint Martins in London. ‘Fashion Central Saint Martins’ – published by Thames & Hudson and edited by the school’s programme director of fashion, Hywel Davies, and Cally Blackman, lecturer in fashion history and theory – takes a bold, collaged and archival amble through the art school’s fashion history, which began in 1938, when six years after its fashion school was founded by Muriel Pemberton, it began teaching fashion design and drawing.
Its colourful, cut-and-paste pages are divided into decades, allowing the reader to party alongside the school’s Blitz Kids Eighties alumni, like journalist Hamish Bowles and John Galliano before touring into the 2010’s, the era of Craig Green, Charles Jeffrey and Molly Goddard. Expect pages packed with unseen student work, essays from guest writers including Sarah Mower and Judith Watt, and intimate insight into the student lives of some of fashion’s most important figures today.
LeGaspi, by Rick Owens
Rizzoli New York
‘It’s me fetishizing him through a fanboy filter’ says Rick Owens of the subject of his latest Rizzoli New York release, dedicated to the work and aesthetic of 70s unsung design hero Larry LeGaspi, who created pioneering looks for musical behemoths including KISS, LaBelle and George Clinton. Owens’ men’s and women’s Glam Rock-ready A/W 2019 collection was also dedicated to the designer and featured sinched streamlined tailoring, platform boots and plenty of stage-ready make up.
For the first ever book documenting LeGaspi’s work, Owens had unprecedented access to his partner’s archives – LeGaspi died of Aids in 2001 – and the book is an amalgam of archive backstage imagery, tour posters and sketches, interspersed with newly Owens-lensed images of LeGaspi’s designs, alongside commentary from Patti LaBelle, André Leon Talley and Pat Cleveland. ‘Larry introduced a camp ferocity to the mainstream and helped set a lot of kids like me free,’ Owens adds. We urge you to get introduced too.
Stay tuned for more of the Wallpaper* fashion desks’ pick of the finest printed matter...