As many of us will have more time at home over the coming weeks, we’re making an effort to tackle our reading lists – first up, three new fashion reads …
Audrey Withers, editor of Vogue from 1940–1960, kept up appearances during the war years. This was epitomised by Cecil Beaton’s photograph of a model dressed to perfection amid the bombed ruins of London, with the caption “Fashion is indestructible”. Julie Summers documents Withers’ editorship in Dressed For War, The Story of Audrey Withers, Vogue Editor Extraordinaire, from the Blitz to the Swinging Sixties, Simon & Schuster, €25, recounting how Withers set herself against the style and preoccupations of Vogue’s mothership in New York. She appointed star contributors such as Kingsley Amis, Elizabeth David and Lee Miller who each needed to be handled carefully. Summers researched the magazine’s archives and Withers’ letters, which offer a window on war-torn Europe.
The Chiffon Trenches by André Leon Talley, HarperCollins, €31.50, is an engaging tell-all memoir charting the US Vogue fashion director’s journey from assisting Andy Warhol, working as Paris correspondent for Women’s Wear Daily, and assisting Vogue editors Grace Mirabella and Diana Vreeland, before being anointed Anna Wintour’s righthand man. While Leon Talley’s life has been lived at the epicentre of fashion, he has also endured homophobia and racism, making this a tale of courage and couture.
French fashion illustrator Alice Charbin has been collaborating with Hermès for 18 years, inviting people to escape to a whimsical world, where the brand’s iconic orange box frequently shapeshifts and appears in the most unlikely of places. Hermès: Heavenly Days, Abrams, €36.70, is an elegant addition to any coffee table.
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