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Style is more practical than theoretical for most people, but that doesn’t make fashion writing any less enjoyable. Quite the contrary: a slew of new books offers a wide range of stylistic and historical inspiration in the form of a beautiful coffee table. They’re rich in detail, perfect for a sartorial fanatic’s library, yet designed with clarity and restraint, equally suited for the casual sailor or gift recipient. Refreshingly, this season’s harvest is ambitious in subject matter and scope as well, offering fresh and inclusive approaches without compromising on a beautiful product.
The book of men’s fashion
The largest of them is The book of men’s fashion by Phaidon, containing 500 color illustrations as well as an extensive preface by Jacob Gallagher from the Wall Street newspaper. As you would expect from a publisher known for his ambitious and brilliant volumes on fine art, architecture and cuisine, the photography is top notch. The usual stories are well represented: English and Italian heritage brands, Americana, French cool, Belgian and Japanese avant-garde. But there’s also Harlem legend Dapper Dan and Viennese provocateur Rudi Gernreich (inventor of the thong), more attention to African and Asian fashion and space for young designers such as Grace Wales Bonner and Luke Sabbat. . Beyond industry names and legendary brands, there is a wide range of sports stars, actors, musicians, politicians and public figures.
The sprawling book is sorted alphabetically, which creates some strange combinations (Malcolm X meets Marcelo Mastroianni; John Lobb just after Steve Jobs). Readers are encouraged to flip through the cross-references on each page, taking you from Sulka to Hermes and Miles Davis to Brooks Brothers. Gallagher heroically tries to tie it all together, but can’t do it all. Despite all its ambition, the book inevitably lacks focus, but it’s a pleasure to browse.
Tom Ford: 002
If there’s one name in menswear that stands for singular focus and balance, it’s Tom Ford. The designer’s first book traced its time at the helm of Gucci; Tom Ford: 002 is all his. It lists the clothes, accessories, glasses and perfumes of its eponymous brand, as well as the models and celebrities who wear them. The foreword sees the return of Anna Wintour, who remembers presenting Ford’s previous book in 2004, and reflects on its humor, vibrancy and aesthetic consistency. Graydon Carter and Bridget Foley’s contributions border on hagiography, but Foley’s interview with Ford is enlightening: lucid about the excesses as well as the glories of the Gucci years, and reflective on the challenges of parenthood and the meaning of change. social. We learn about Ford’s journey in perfume and how he gave a heavy dose of American glamor to solid-framed English tailors. The photography is superb and perfectly on the mark: acres of velvet and tanned skin, baggy tuxedos and tight trunks. Alongside the costumes and shades, there are women’s clothing and watches. Above all, there is arrogance and provocation. It may be a more circumspect portrait, but it’s still Tom Ford.
Portraits of the modern gentleman
Portraits of the modern gentleman couldn’t be more different. Illustrator Fei Wang, nicknamed Mr. Slowboy, features a book listing his work for heritage brands such as Dunhill, Barbour and Drake’s, as well as illustrations for magazines and portraits of friends and industry figures. His characters are cheerful, good-natured and at times miserable: an arty guy in a Barbour carries enough brushes to teach an art class in his pockets and has a touch of paint on his coat; a man in a beautiful chocolate suit with a tray of honey gets chased by bees. Slowboy’s experience as a Beijing advertising designer translates into an extraordinary combination of simplicity and detail: his designs are never chaotic or loaded, but capture the seams of a lapel or the fringed edge of a scarf.
The book features contributions from friends such as Jeremy Hackett, Mark Cho and W. David Marx. Instagram favorites including Scott Schuman, Jake Grantham and Ethan Newton are among the portraits. As Yasuto Kamoshita says in his foreword, “You can always tell who they are at a glance”, but “their facial expressions are nicer and a little more hesitant, reflecting Mr. Slowboy’s personality.” The book is a mine of outfits and characters. In a world of glossy brand catalogs, these illustrations are a breath of fresh air, kindness and wit.
Buy Now: $ 45
Black Ivy: a stylish revolt
“Every new fashion is a form of rebellion,” says Sidney Poitier in the pages of Jason Jules and Graham Marsh Black Ivy: a stylish revolt. The book tells the story of the essential role that black artists, musicians, politicians and communities played in the Ivy style, a flowering of button-down collars, brushed sweaters and soft-shoulder jackets that have traveled far beyond the preppy New England establishment. And it’s about the role of the Ivy Style in a bigger story of black artistic achievement, social change, and the battle for equal rights. The looks here are sharp but far from monotonous: artist Charles White in tweed, musician Eric Dolphy in a shawl collar cardigan, MLK with crisp suits and thin ties and, of course, Miles Davis the best argument. to the world for the mint green button. down, featured in everything from seersuckers to blazers.
Beyond famous names, there are street style, sit-in style, and college scenes in Morehouse and Howard that are reminiscent of the legendary Teruyoshi Hayashida. Take the ivy photographs. Jules and Marsh sweep literature, music, film, sport, politics and advertising. It is a book of striking and tender portraits, both a celebration of style and a commemoration of real lives. It is an indispensable companion for books like Tanisha Ford’s Released sons, showing how the style of men was just as relevant as that of women at the time. And it’s a fitting tribute to continuity and change. As Jules puts it, Black Ivy “challenged the status quo while honoring it.”
Buy Now: $ 49.45
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