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Best fashion design books

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PIERRE CARDIN 60 Years of Innovation by Jean-Pascal Hesse

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After getting his start with Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin opened his own couture house in 1950. He soon earned a reputation as a highly original designer—his experi- ments with geometric, asymmetrical forms lent his creations a distinct architectural sensibility, while his fascination with space-age materials gave them a boldly futuristic flair. This lavish volume pays tribute to Cardin’s indelible contributions to the art and business of fashion over six fertile decades. Assouline, $75.


MADELEINE VIONNET edited by Pamela Golbin, principal photography by Patrick Gries

As curator of the Vionnet exhibit currently on view in Paris, Golbin is probably the world’s top authority on the designer—an iconoclast who pioneered the bias cut, experimented with drapery and introduced social responsibility into the workplace. Along with an imaginary “interview” with Vionnet compiled from various unpublished texts, this stylish volume—a fashion “must”—serves up a dazzling array of frocks and evening gowns accompanied by original patterns and archival images. Rizzoli, $75.


CHANEL by Jean Leymarie

A prominent art historian, Leymarie originally published his classic monograph on Coco Chanel in 1989. Completely redesigned and supplemented by an essay on Karl Lagerfeld’s contributions to the brand, this authoritative biography—packed with photographs, sketches and paintings—has just been re-released by Abrams. Leymarie situates haute couture in the context of high art before taking the reader on a grand tour of Chanel’s life and her evolution as a fashion designer. Abrams, $45.


THIERRY MUGLER Galaxy Glamour by Danièle Bott

Initially trained as a ballet dancer, Thierry Mugler founded his own label in 1975; over the years, his work—architectural, provocative, ultra-stylized, body-conscious and futuristic—has drawn inspiration from film noir, 1950s comic books, robots, the insect world and the wonders of the s. Packed with sketches and fashion shots, this monograph offers a visual journey through Mugler’s career as a cutting-edge couturier and purveyor of best-selling fragrances. Thames & Hudson, $50.


PARIS VOGUE Covers 1920-2009 by Sonia Rachline


Condé Nast purchased Vogue in 1909 and launched its Paris-based sister publication in 1920. As part of his “class not mass” development strategy, Nast commissioned chic, arresting covers from top illus- trators and photographers. This new book assembles 90 years’ worth of covers, many by artists—among them Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, David Hockney, Edward Steichen, Irving Penn and William Klein. Taken together, they offer an amusing history of style, fashion and pop culture. Thames & Hudson, $45.


YVES SAINT LAURENT by Florence Müller and Farid Chenoune

Published in conjunction with a major Paris retrospective on the legendary designer, this comprehensive work by the exhibit’s curators chronicles YSL’s entire career. Along with a richly illustrated chronology of the couturier’s life, the book features Saint Laurent’s drawings and pio- neering fashions. Also highlighted are the muses and models who inspired him, and the artistic creations—paintings, plays, operas, books and films—that nurtured his creativity. Abrams, $55.


THE YVES SAINT LAURENT - PIERRE BERGE COLLECTION edited by Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery

Together with Pierre Bergé, his lifelong friend, former lover and longtime business partner, Yves Saint Laurent amassed one of the world’s largest private art collections; in addition to Baroque bronzes, Art Deco furnishings and precious objets, it included works by such artists as Picasso, Mondrian and Brancusi. This sumptuous volume published with Christie’s showcases 100 remarkable pieces—many photographed in situ—that were auctioned off after the couturier’s death. Flammarion, $95.


THE HERMÈS SCARF History & Mystique by Nadine Coleno

The Hermès scarf made its début in 1937. Since then the maison has produced 2,000 different designs, some bearing classic equestrian motifs, others inspired by nature, science or modern art. Deceptively simple in form, each hand-finished carré is a model of craftsmanship and finesse. This new volume celebrates the beauty and diversity of these coveted accessories, which—even after more than 70 years—remain symbols of timeless elegance. (Available in August.) Thames & Hudson, $95


SCARVES by Nicky Albrechtsen and Fola Solanke

The ability of French women to effortlessly outclass everyone else by tossing on a scarf remains an enduring cliché. But the role of French designers in creating these indispensable fashion accessories cannot be doubted. This lovely compendium, which sports a silky cover, highlights the work of designers worldwide; the many French names include Balmain, Cardin, Courrèges, Dior, Fath, Lanvin, Lacroix, Poiret, Poitou, Yves Saint Laurent and of course Hermès. Thames & Hudson, $65.


DIOR COUTURE photographs by Patrick Demarchelier


This lavish new volume brings together 100 haute-couture gowns designed by Christian Dior and his successors, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan and John Galliano. Gisele Bündchen, Karlie Kloss and Gemma Ward are among the top models posing in these exquisite garments, which are shot by big-name fashion photographer Demarchelier against such dramatic backdrops as the Opéra Garnier, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, a private château, a Beijing movie studio and Times Square. Rizzoli, $115.

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