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15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

From iconic houses to daring designers, these fashion-focussed coffee table books contain the industry’s most beautiful imagery

Interior designers know that the perfect finishing touch for any living room is a beautiful coffee table book, and what better way to add a little style to your surroundings than with one that focuses on fashion? From retrospectives of history’s top designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen, to behind-the-scenes insights from fashion editors, this is the most visually stunning selection to pick from.

Kate: The Kate Moss Book
by Kate Moss (£50, Rizzoli)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

This beautiful monochrome book provides a retrospective of Kate Moss’s career, curated by the supermodel herself. Following her trajectory from schoolgirl waif to one of the most recognisable faces on the planet, this is an intimate, personal look at the images which have defined her career. The result is a book which firmly establishes Moss’s position in the fashion halls of fame thanks to featured work by renowned photographers such as Mario Testino, Corinne Day, Inez & Vinoodh, Craig McDean, Mert & Marcus, David Sims, Mario Sorrenti, and Juergen Teller.

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Images
by Simon Porte Jacquemus (£40)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

This newly-released second book from the French fashion label brings together photographs taken by Simon Porte Jacquemus with his iPhone since 2010. These photos each offer a look into the label’s dreamy aesthetic, filled with imagery of the sun-drenched French Riviera and golden wheat fields, in what Jacquemus has described as “a movie of a summer day.” There were, in fact, 85041 images on the self-taught designer’s camera roll, so this selection of 321 of the best that he picked during lockdown is a real labour of love.

Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women who Revolutionised Fashion
by Marcellas Reynolds (£40, Abrams)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

The first book to date devoted exclusively to black models, Supreme Models provides a visual education on how the fashion industry was revolutionised by black women. Through a series of essays and images, this coffee table book pays tribute to black models both past and present, from trailblazers like Iman and Beverley Johnson, to the nineties supermodels Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, and the contemporary generation, such as Adwoa Aboah and Jourdan Dunn. Each of them have helped reset beauty ideals and shaped popular culture – a colossal impact which is celebrated in these pages.

Andy Warhol Polaroids 1958- 1987
by Richard B. Woodward (£40, Taschen)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

“I’ve never met a person I couldn’t call a beauty,” said Andy Warhol, who was able to spontaneously document the faces he saw using instant Polaroid photography. Over the space of almost 30 years, he amassed a huge collection of impromptu images of friends, lovers, celebrities, patrons and people he encountered in the street. This coffee table book features hundreds of those shots, from self-portraits to still lives, anonymous nudes to New York high society, and well-known names such as Dolly Parton, Keith Haring to Audrey Hepburn.

Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue
by Grace Coddington (£49.95, Phaidon)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Iconic within the industry as much for her auburn mane as her incredible visual imagery, Grace Coddington served at Vogue for over 30 years, working for both the British and American versions of the fashion bible. As a result, this book showcases some of her best work from her time as a fashion editor. Of course there’s a foreword from Anna Wintour – the two powerhouses worked alongside each other for almost 25 years – but there are also anecdotes from famous models and photographers who demonstrate just how important Coddington is in the fashion industry.

Yves Saint Laurent: The Impossible Collection
by Laurence Benaïm (£695, Assouline)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Known for creating feminine versions of masculine styles, such as Le Smoking tuxedo and the pinstripe suit, Yves Saint Laurent first cut his teeth in the world of fashion by working for Christian Dior before going solo. This gorgeous silk-cased coffee table book features 100 of the trail-blazing designer’s most iconic looks, spanning his forty year career from the very first looks which hit the runway in his 1962 eponymous debut collection, to his final presentation before he retired back in 2002.

Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech
by Michael Darling (£115, Prestel)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

As well as being a designer, artist, DJ and the founder of fashion brand Off-White, Virgil Abloh is also the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. Here, in this three-books-in-one format, Abloh’s interdisciplinary work is examined through a series of essays and interviews with key voices in art, fashion, design, and architecture, including Taiye Selasi, Lou Stoppard, Michael Rock, Samir Bantal, Rem Koolhaas, and Anja Aronowsky Cronberg. But there are also over 1800 previously unseen images taken from Abloh’s personal collection, revealing the remarkable breadth of his work.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
by Andrew Bolton (£35, Yale University Press)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Revered and reviled in equal measure, Alexander McQueen was arguably the most controversial fashion designer during his lifetime. This book, which pays homage to his oeuvre, was published in conjunction with the blockbuster exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Expect six deep-dives into collections symbolising the major themes in his work and the ways in which he challenged conventions surrounding sexuality, religion, race and class. There’s also an interview with current creative director of the house, Sarah Burton, as well as quotes from the maestro himself.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel
by Lisa Vreeland (£35, Abrams)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

While Anna Wintour might reign supreme today in the world of fashion, before her tenure, Diana Vreeland was the woman to whom designers paid homage. Serving as both Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Editor-in-Chief at American Vogue, Vreeland was a force to be reckoned with. Written by her granddaughter-in-law, this book examines how she transformed the industry during her 50 years in fashion. As well as beautiful imagery, there are also interesting fashion history lessons to be had, like how plane travel changed coverage forever by bringing women of colour into editorials for the first time. 

Chloe Sevigny
by Chloe Sevigny (£59, Rizzoli)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Long-time darling of the fashion world, Chloe Sevigny gives an insight into her daring personal style in this compilation of images comprising photos by school friends, film stills, magazine editorials and fashion campaigns. Known for her quirky, effortless dress sense, Sevigny’s career began in the early nineties, when she began modelling and starred in Sonic Youth’s 1992 music video for “Sugar Kane”. Aptly, Sonic Youth singer, Kim Gordon, writes the foreword here to this personal look at Sevigny’s perennially cool style.

Mary Quant
by Jenny Lister (£30, V&A)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Inspired by the V&A exhibition, Mary Quant explores the story behind the designer who spear-headed a fashion revolution. A seminal figure during the Swinging Sixties, Quant is credited with harnessing contemporary youth culture and bringing the mini skirt to prominence. As well as a look at her signature designs and some never-seen-before imagery, there’s also an interesting exploration of how her innovative marketing helped build her brand – another example, alongside her clothes, of the way in which she embodied female empowerment.

Christian Dior
by Oriole Cullen & Connie Karol Burks (£40, V&A)
Christian Dior Designer of Dreams

Capturing all the highlights from the Victoria and Albert museum’s sell-out exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, this coffee table book takes a retrospective look at the House of Dior from its naissance in 1946 to its incarnation today. Brought together are design sketches and fashion photography of many of Christian Dior’s haute-couture gowns, as well as those produced by the fashion house’s successive creative directors, including Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. But there’s also an irresistible look at Dior’s spectacular fashion shows, including the opulent presentation at Blenheim Palace in 1954, too.

The New Black Vanguard
by Antwaun Sargent (£40, Aperture)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Curator and art critic Antwaun Sargent celebrates 15 trail-blazing black image makers in this coffee table book, all of whom are breaking through barriers in the worlds of fashion and art to create more inclusive industries. Until now, black artists have too often been overlooked or ignored, so this new vanguard is fronting a movement that breaks down the white gaze to make these visual mediums more representative of the society we live in today. An important insight into worlds previously erased from the mainstream.

Tom Ford
by Tom Ford and Bridget Foley (£85, Rizzoli)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Tom Ford is synonymous with modern Hollywood glamour, so it’s no surprise he’s moved on from fashion to directing films. But before that transition, Ford worked as creative director for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, where he was credited with reinventing the boundaries of style and sensuality in clothing. This compendium features everything from product shots, ads, runway candids, and words of wisdom from the designer, as well as forewords from Vogue ‘s Anna Wintour and Vanity Fair ‘s Graydon Carter, to create a time capsule of Ford’s last ten years in fashion.

Chanel: The Vocabulary of Style
by Jérôme Gautier (£65, Thames and Hudson Ltd)
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year
15 fashion coffee table books to buy and gift this year

Coco Chanel is undoubtedly one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. This book aims to explore her legacy by examining the key elements of her style which still resonate through the fashion house today. Coco’s classic fashion plates are presented alongside more recent ones from the maison’s late creative director Karl Lagerfeld. Many of them depict the stapes of Chanel’s designs, such as the little black dress, and their reinventions through the decades, illustrating the incredible influence the designer has had not only on her own label, but the fashion world today.

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