Fashion

65 fabulous fashion books

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Anna Pollitt
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The most enchanting fashion books are glossy, beautiful, substantial and impossible to put down.

Here, to celebrate London Fashion Week (15-19 September), Stylist has put together our top 65 fashion folios, from coffee table tomes such as Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Influence and Mulberry: The Book to intriguing reads such as The Beautiful Fall, which charts the rise (and rivalry) of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld in Paris during the Seventies.

Click an image below to launch the gallery.

  • Savage Beauty, Harold Koda

    £22.75, amazon.co.uk

    Features beautiful images of the late Alexander McQueen's most influential and iconic designs from 1995 through to the final show. It also includes insightful and amusing quotes from the designer and a thoughtful essay by Sarah Burton, the creative director of the brand.

  • Celia Birtwell, Celia Birtwell and Dominic Lutyens

    £9.88, amazon.co.uk

    A scrapbook-style retrospective of British textile designer Celia Birtwell, "the face that launched a thousand prints," from her 60s signature designs to her recent work for Topshop.

  • Culture to Catwalk, Kristin Knox

    £27.69, amazon.co.uk

    Kristin Knox, the blogger behind cult fashion website, The Clothes Whisperer looks at how traditional clothing and street styles from around the world influence fashion and designers today.

  • The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman

    £18.94, amazon.co.uk

    An entrancing anthology of Scott Schuman's favourite photographs of people on the street who he felt looked great. It includes images of well-known fashion figures alongside random men and women who possess an inspirational look.

  • In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine, Alberto Oliva and Norberto Angeletti

    £32.43, amazon.co.uk

    A compelling look at the evolution of Vogue from struggling society journal to one of the most powerful fashion symbols in the world. Includes iconic covers and shoots by Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz and more.

  • Harper's Bazaar Greatest Hits, Glenda Bailey

    £31.49, amazon.co.uk

    Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey presents some of magazine's best and most outrageous celebrity shoots spanning a decade of glamour and chaos. Think Naomi Campbell racing a cheetah in Africa, Agyness Deyn honouring Michael Jackson and so on.

  • The Little Black Book of Style, Nina Garcia

    £10.99, amazon.co.uk

    Now in its eighth printing, the renowned editor guides the reader through a maze of fashion faux-pas and encourages an exploration of individual fashion identity.

  • Valentino - A Grand Italian Epic, Suzy Menkes, Matt Tyrnauer and Armando Chitolina

    £69, amazon.co.uk

    A suitably glamorous homage to Valentino's illustrious career, comprising sketches, documentary photography, newspaper archives and interviews with 20 of the designer's closest friends.

  • 100 Dresses, Harold Koda

    £16.99, amazon.co.uk

    A stunning display of 100 gowns from the permanent collection of the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Featuring designs by Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, Madame Gres, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, and many others.

  • Mulberry: The Book, Venetia Dearden

    £49.95, amazon.co.uk

    To celebrate its 40th anniversary the luxury brand is giving us an inside look at the magical world of Mulberry, with 480 pages of glossy, behind-the-scenes photographs from the last three years.

  • Irreverent, Carine Roitfeld

    £39, amazon.co.uk

    An elegant visual history tracing the 30-year career of Carine Roitfeld - model, fashion writer and former editor-in-chief of French Vogue. Roitfeld's famed sense of subversion is celebrated throughout.

  • Kate Moss, Mario Testino

    £22, amazon.co.uk

    Mario Testino’s personal homage to his greatest muse, Kate Moss. The photographic tome is the result of 20 years of an iconic collaboration between the legendary photographer and the fashion icon.

  • Avedon Fashion 1944-2000, Richard Avedon

    £41.95 amazon.co.uk

    One of the world's best photographers, Richard Avedon was credited with helping "define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century" in his New York Times obituary in 2004. This book represents a major retrospective of his work.

  • Mario Testino: Portraits, Mario Testino

    £38, amazon.co.uk

    Testino's talents are further heralded in this anthology of his most striking images, from the rich and famous to unnamed "portraits of desire."

  • Facehunter, Yvan Rodic

    £14.95, amazon.co.uk

    London's most prolific fashion blogger delivers creativity and charisma in equal measure in this visionary tome, which encompasses highlights from his hugely popular street style blog Facehunter.com.

  • Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, Lisa I Vreeland

    £26.25, amazon.co.uk

    Diana (pronounced Dee-Ann) Vreeland invented the word “pizazz” and it was a quality she had in abundance. This stunning picture book is a celebration of her extraordinary contribution to fashion.

  • The Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion, Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, Phyllis Tortora and Bina Abling

    £39.75, amazon.co.uk

    Your essential guide to clothing terminology, including facts on worldwide and historic trends, style terms, the correct terminology for parts of apparel and the language used in business and merchandising.

  • Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty, Camilla Morton

    £7.14, amazon.co.uk

    A new twist on the fairytale with magical illustrations created by fashion maestro Christian Lacroix.

  • Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook, James Danziger

    £144 (hardcover), amazon.co.uk

    Best known for his fashion portraits of glamorous stars such as Margot Fonteyn and Greta Garbo, this tome lifts the lid on the private side to Cecil Beaton's work: his scrapbooks.

  • Veruschka, Vera Lehndorff and David Wills

    £203.64 (hardcover), amazon.co.uk

    A tour de force between author David Wills and Veruschka, this vertible treasure box of interviews, photographs and memoirs charts the German supermodel's incredible life, including details of her iconic shoots with Irving Penn, Rubartelli and more.

  • Fashion Designers' Sketchbooks, Hywel Davies

    £28, laurenceking.com

    Featuring major fashion industry names' photographs, sketches, mood boards, line-ups, toiles and fabric swatches, this book gives a fascinating insight into the artists' creative process.

  • Fashion for Jewels: 100 Years of Styles and Icons, Carol Woolton

    £15.75, amazon.co.uk

    The jewellery editor of British Vogue, Carol Woolton explores how the worlds of fashion and jewellery intertwine.

  • Influence, Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen

    The infamous Olsen twins guide us through their fashion and style influences, featuring interviews with Karl Lagerfeld, Diane Von Furstenberg, John Galliano - to name but a few.

    £15.84 amazon.co.uk

  • Fashion Illustration by Fashion Designers, Laird Borrelli

    £24.95, thamesandhudson.com

    The likes of Christian Lacroix, Sonia Rykiel and Yves Saint Laurent display their creativity in 280 stunning sketches.

  • Fashion, Akiko Fukai, Tamami Suoh, Miki Iwagami, Reiko Koga and Rie Nii

    £34.99, taschen.com

    Beautifully illustrated work depicting clothes from the 18th century that are held at the Kyoto Costume Institute.

  • Fashion Volume II, Akiko Fukai, Tamami Suoh, Miki Iwagami, Reiko Koga and Rie Nii

    £34.99, taschen.com

    The second volume delves into garments from the 19th and 20th century held at the Kyoto Costume Institute.

  • My Favourite Dress, Gity Monsef, Samantha Erin Safer and Robert de Niet

    £15.96, antiquecollectorsclub.com

    Designers including Amanda Wakeley, Caroline Herrera, Elie Sabb, Maria Grachvogel and more explain how they are attached to their favourite dress, via original sketches, fashion photography and fabric samples.

  • True British: Alice Temperley, Alice Temperley

    £25.60, amazon.co.uk

    Alice Temperley's first book is a monograph celebrating a decade of her label in the fashion industry.

  • Tom Ford, Bridget Foley

    £85, thamesandhudson.com

    A complete catalogue of the designer's work for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, chronicling his transformation of the Gucci brand over the past decade and his vision for its future.

  • New African Fashion, Helen Jennings

    £14.99, amazon.co.uk

    A look at the history of African fashion and how it has influenced modern designers such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Calvin Klein, as well as the best designers, photographers and models from the continent.

  • Isabella Blow, Martina Rink

    £29.95, thamesandhudson.com

    A pictoral tribute to the late stylist, featuring personal letters written exclusively for the book by fashion greats including Valentino, Anna Wintour, Manolo Blahník, Naomi Campbell, Mario Testino and Rankin.

  • High Heels: Fashion, Femininity & Seduction, Ivan Vartanian and Stella Bruzzi

    £22.49, waterstones.com

    A must for shoe-lovers, this visual feast of contemporary fashion photography focuses on themes of beauty, danger and seduction the high heel evokes.

  • Be Dazzled! Norman Hartnell, Sixty Years of Glamorous Fashion, Michael Pick

    £42.75, amazon.co.uk

    Drawings, fabric designs and vintage photographs celebrating the work of high society wedding dress designer Michael Pick, famed for his prestiguous clientele (including Queen Elizabeth II, whose 1947 wedding gown he created).

  • Gucci: The Making Of, Frida Giannini

    £37.50, amazon.co.uk

    A heartfelt tribute examining the origins and influence of Italian fashion giant Gucci featuring anecdotes, essays and archival and contemporary photographs.

  • Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration: Featuring the Very Best in Ethical Fashion Design, Amelia Gregory

    £15, alibris.co.uk

    This beautifully illustrated book with pearlised cover brings together the very best in ethical fashion design from independent fashion website Amelia’s Magazine.

  • Fresh Fruits, Shoichi Aoki

    £12.41, amazon.co.uk

    A vibrant and entertaining look at the explosion of street style among teenagers in Tokyo, based on the popular fanzine of the same name. The way in which the children - aged between 12 and 18 - mix high fashion with home-made design makes for truly astounding content.

  • Manolo's New Shoes, Manolo Blahník and Suzy Menkes

    £24.95, thamesandhudson.com

    The new collection of Manolo's coveted shoe designs, arranged according to the designer's passions (including art, history and architecture) and with contributions from Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor of the International Herald Tribune and Grace Coddington, Creative Director at American Vogue.

  • Chanel Three Book Set, Francois Baudot and Francoise Aveline

    $75, assouline.com

    This three-book set examines Chanel's everlasting legacy via the creative trilogy that made her brand famous; fashion, jewellery and perfume.

  • Backstage Dior, Roxanne Lowit

    £85, teneues.com

    Photographer Roxanne Lowit provides an insider's look at John Galliano’s most decadent couture shows for Dior over the past decade, as he worked to re-invent and energise the brand.

  • 100 Years of Menswear, Cally Blackman

    £24.95, clairederouenbooks.com

    A divine collection of photos and illustrations collated by fashion historian Cally Blackman reveal the development of menwear over the past century, from the understated elegance of Savile Row to Hollywood icons and the emergence of khaki and denim.

  • Naked Fashion, Safia Minney

    £11.68, amazon.co.uk

    Safia Minney, the founder of fair trade label People Tree, explores fashion through the realms of ethics and exploitation, using vivid potraits and interviews with key players trying to revolutionise the industry for the better.

  • Emilio Pucci, Vanessa Friedman, Alessandra Arezzi Boza and Armando Chitolina

    £135, taschen.com

    A candid and vibrant account of one of the founding fathers of Italian fashion. Illustated with hundreds of family photos, drawings and fashion shoots, it examines Emilio Pucci's life as a flamboyant pioneer and innovator and each book comes bound in a different Pucci fabric.

  • Purple Anthology: Art Prose Fashion Music Architecture Sex, Olivier Zahm and Elein Fleiss

    £18.90, biblio.com

    Commissioned to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cult fashion magazine Purple, this volume traces its history of art, style and culture with muses including Chloe Sevigny and Catherine Deneuve and essays by Glenn O'Brien and Dave Hickey.

  • Rodarte: Mondo Rodarte, Catherine Opie and Alex Soth

    Art photographers Catherine Opie and Alec Soth delve into the sensational rise of fashion giant Rodarte, and the creative force behind the company, Kate and Laura Mulleavy - including their collaborations with musicians and film directors and complex design techniques like burning and sanding.

    £35, amazon.co.uk

  • The Language of Fashion, Roland Barthes

    £10.99, bergpublishers.com

    Philosophy and fashion mix as the respected literary theorist explores his fascination with clothes and fashion in a series of essays - from a structural and semiological analysis of clothing to an exploration of how the contrasting styles of Courrges and Chanel replayed the clash between ancient and modern.

  • The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris, Alicia Drake

    £8.99 bloomsbury.com

    Chronicles the rise and rivalry of two fashion legents, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, in 1970s Paris - a hotbed of style, glamour, passion and ideas.

  • The House of Viktor & Rolf, Caroline Evans and Susannah Frankel

    A sumptuous tribute to two of the most original and audacious names in haute couture, featuring an interview with the Dutch design duo, key looks from their Atomic Bomb and Russian Doll collections and an essay by fashion historian Caroline Evans.

    £35, waterstones.com

  • Helmut Newton, SUMO, June Newton and Helmut Newton

    A titanic gem of a book, this 464-page tome is filled with incredible fashion, celebrity and nude portraits from Helmut Newton, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest and most daring photographers of all time.

    £99.99, taschen.com

  • Prada, Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli

    £63.75, waterstones.com

    Collages of iconic bags and shoes and a photo-essay by renowned photographer Brigitte Lacombe are just some of the delights contained within this comprehensive study of Prada's art, fashion and architecture over a 30-year period.

  • Marc Jacobs Advertising 1998-2009, Juergen Teller

    Visual and creative highlights from campaigns launched by Marc Jacobs and the book's author, Juergen Teller, who worked with the designer for over a decade to reflect the brand's intelligence and individuality through advertising.

    £78, steidlville.com

  • 100 Contemporary Fashion Designers, Terry Jones

    £34.99 taschen.com

    A must-have for any true fashion afficionado, this compilation brings together highlights from TASCHEN's Fashion Now! series to create a full overview of fashion from around the world at the start of the 21st Century.

  • The Stephen Sprouse Book, Roger Padilha and Mauricio Padilha

    The Padilhas possess the largest private collection of Stephen Sprouse’s work and were given exclusive access to family archives in compiling this book, which comes in different Day-Glo colours in a nod to the designer's graffiti/punk influence on 80s fashion.

    £29.75, amazon.co.uk

  • A Guide to Fashion Sewing, Connie Amaden-Crawford

    £61.75, amazon.co.uk

    Thousands of enhanced visuals pepper the new edition of this classic guide to sewing - a bible for any would-be designer.

  • Another Fashion Book, Jefferson Hack

    Provocative spreads that blur the boundaries between art and fashion abound in this book by Kate Moss's ex, in a compilation of highlights from couture trend watcher AnOther Magazine.

    £45, steidlville.com

  • The Costume History, Auguste Racinet

    £27.99, taschen.com

    It may have been published over 130 years ago (between 1876 and 1888, to be precise), but this timeless examination of the history of costume and style from the ancient world through to the 19th century is a classic indeed.

  • Stylist: The Interpreters of Fashion, Sarah Mower

    £34, amazon.co.uk

    A look at the undervalued but highly creative role of fashion stylists such as Vogue's Grace Coddington, with an introduction by Anna Winour.

  • Galliano, Colin McDowell

    £33.99, amazon.co.uk

    An engaging and strikingly personal tribute to the life and works of John Galliano, featuring exclusive sketches, designs and show plans from the designer and over 200 photographs.

  • The Way We Wore: A Life In Threads, Robert Elms

    £48.40 amazon.co.uk

    A funny and touching memoir of one man's passion for fashion with particular focus on the minuta of post-war street fashion.

  • Cowboy Kate and Other Stories, Sam Haskins

    £30, abebooks.co.uk

    Famed 1960s photographer Sam Haskins presents a pioneering photography book in which he reinvents the nude genre through stunningly shot images and an engaging narrative.

  • Street Style - From Sidewalk to Catwalk, Ted Polhemus

    £196.95, amazon.co.uk

    Hard mods, skinheads, indies, goths and hippies - all are contained within this compelling exploration of 40 different "styletribes" that have reigned supreme in fashion from the 1940s to the 1990s.

  • Street Style, Ted Polhemus

    £19.95, pymca.com

    The sharp suits, leather jackets, jeans, kaftans, flares, DMs and slick locks continue in this updated version of the revered style bible, featuring 100 extra pages, five new chapters and over 250 fabulous images.

  • Fashion, Christopher Breward

    £13.99 oup.com

    Fashion historian Dr. Chris Breward surveys 150 years of fashion - covering the birth of Haute Couture through to current High Street fashion; fabric technology, fashion as a business and how our clothes correlate with our identity and status.

  • Costume & Fashion: A Concise History, James Laver

    £9.95, thamesandhudson.com

    More fashion history with a technical angle comes from this landmark guide to the evolution of costume and fashion, from the invention of the needle 40,000 years ago to an analysis of the way in which clothes protect and express identity.

  • Nick Knight, Nick Knight

    £50, amazon.co.uk

    A showcase of one of the world's most influential photographer's work, including collaborations with the likes of Bjork, Kylie and David Bowie, as well as some of his editorial work with British Vogue.

  • Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion, Harold Koda

    £30, amazon.co.uk

    A glamorous historical look at models through the years and, interestingly, the role they play in the evolution of the feminine ideal.

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at Stylist.co.uk, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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