Another holiday season is here and with that visions of the perfect gift for the fashion enthusiast in your life. With as many options to splurge or save on the newest garbs from your favorite clothing and footwear brands, there’s also a plethora of pages waiting to be devoured within a number of brilliant coffee table books.
These decadent books hold a seminal place in both fashion and literature. When it comes to looking for an exceptional gift to show your loved ones who enjoy keeping up with all things peplum, tartan-check, and athleisure, buying a large hardback with alluring pictures to commemorate these and more seems fair. These selections are also ideal if you’re looking to kick back and relax ahead of the holiday season. So, whether a trip to your local bookstore or an afternoon of Amazon browsing awaits, there’s a slew of modish literary works to choose from to make your gift-giving search merry and bright.
Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized Fashion by critically acclaimed author Sowmya Krishnamurthy stands as the first anthology of hip-hop’s relationship with fashion. Then there’s the story of renowned dressmaker Ann Lowe, whose story of rising to prominence as a designer to Hollywood stars and a former first lady is chronicled in the title Ann Lowe: American Couturier. Anyone who purchases this book will be enraptured and inspired by Lowe’s ambition to become one of the world’s foremost seamstresses during a period of overt racial discrimination, segregation, and sexism.
With all of this in mind, look no further than the titles below, no fashion devotee would be able to resist having in their possession, much less on their coffee tables. However, beware—after reading this list you may decide to pick up an extra copy to start or add to your own fashion-forward book collection as well.
Self-professed sneakerheads and casual shoppers alike will appreciate the glossy pages of “Sneaker Freaker. World’s Greatest Sneaker Collectors.” Founder and editor-in-chief of Sneaker Freaker magazine Simon Wood’s impressive career dissecting sneaker culture paved the way for the creation of this 752-page collectible. The pages of the Taschen-published coffee table book feature enviable worldwide collections of vintage Jordans and Yeezys along with information on the sneaker industry’s unassailable history. For those just starting their own sneaker collections or curious to begin, how-to advice on preserving and storing one’s sneakers at home proves to be must-read content. “World’s Greatest Sneaker Collectors” provides much more than hypnotic imagery of some of the world’s most passionate footwear aficionados today, it also provides a blueprint for future generations of collectors.
The title of Sowmya Krishnamurthy’s first book may come as a reminder of A$AP Rocky’s 2013 hit song of the same name, and rightfully so. The music journalist and pop culture expert whose words have been pored over in print for Complex, XXL, and Rolling Stone details hip-hop and modern fashion’s symbiotic relationship in “Fashion Killa.” The effects of hip-hop royalty gatecrashing the well-regarded exclusionary doors of high fashion with their enduring influence and visionary taste are documented in Krishnamurthy’s words, interviews, and painstaking research. Her debut also introduces a serious discussion on the political, social, and cultural impact of hip-hop and streetwear’s marriage with elite fashion brands (think Saint Laurent, Versace, and Cardi B’s headline-made appearance in Fendi during Paris Couture Week this July). If you’re seeking further evidence of hip-hop’s connection and impact on fashion, from Vogue to Paris Fashion Week, this selection gives many reasons to take up space in your home.
Once called “society’s best-kept secret,” fashion designer Ann Lowe rose to prominence in and beyond fashion circles for her couture gowns. Though she became more well-known for designing Jacqueline Kennedy’s (then Bouvier) wedding dress, Lowe’s legacy as a couturier for the rich and famous is given a much more comprehensive spotlight in “Ann Lowe: American Couturier.” Born in 1898, Lowe sought a career as a dressmaker from a young age amid segregation and racism. She became a dress salon owner, servicing prominent individuals, such as Hollywood actress Olivia de Havilland and Black pianist Elizabeth Mance, along with wealthy legacy families—the Roosevelts, Rockefellers, Whitneys, and DuPonts, to name a few. Lowe’s own legacy is rightfully given homage in “Ann Lowe: American Couturier” for present and future generations to never forget.
Dubbed a “guide to the style of Rihanna,” Terry Newman’s latest is a thrilling invitation into some of the most head-turning fashion looks of the Fenty Beauty impresario. Newman gives Riri fans a play-by-play account with curated pictures and explanations of the recording artist’s journey toward becoming a style icon in her own right. From her posing in Burberry to the birth of her Fenty fashion empire, over 100 pictures and accompanying paragraphs account for the designers who have influenced the Barbadian superstar. Readers can also gain further insight into the relationships Rihanna maintained with luxury fashion brands, including Dior, and her thoughts on what it means to be a Black woman clothed by them. When it comes to fashion, Rihanna is number one at wearing clothes, instead of clothes wearing her and Newman’s book provides proof of that notion.
It’s a new era in the world of fashion, as told by Black artists and models, according to the images in “The New Stereotype: STORIES.” Crafted by members of The New Stereotype creative team, this book celebrates and highlights the many diverse layers of Black life in America through fashion, photography, and film. A full year’s worth of work is expressed in fashion editorial images within, complete with authentic stories of over 50 Black men and women photographed in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. Additionally, “STORIES” is sectioned in chapters with book topics including “The Diaspora and Ancestry,” “Self-Identity/Belonging,” “Body Inclusivity,” and “Masculinity Expressions.” The message is heard (and seen) loud and clear in this decadent publication, sure to motivate anyone who comes across it.
Virgil Abloh left behind an unmatched legacy in the world of fashion. After working as a DJ and with Kanye West, Abloh eventually achieved worldwide fame. Yet aside from historical resume markers, the late fashion designer, stylist, and entrepreneur also had a way with words. His book titled “Abloh-isms” by Princeton University Press shares a collection of memorable quotes from one of fashion’s most inspirational figureheads.