Those who can’t make it to Fashion Week are no doubt glued to the computer or TV to catch the coverage. Not so style-conscious bookworms, who’d prefer to peruse some fashion tomes instead.
I’ve had the privilege to work on a few of my favorites. Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work, is not just about apparel; it’s also a memoir of Tim’s childhood as a bullied outcast, a dish on well-known fashion divas’ outrageous antics, an insider’s view of Project Runway and a jibe at our society’s descent into narcissism and loutish behavior. But perhaps there’s hope if so many of us can appreciate and embrace such an intelligent, kindhearted, and genteel person as Tim.
I had the pleasure of seeing Tim (or perhaps I should say Mr. Gunn) at the 92nd Street Y for “An Evening with Tim Gunn” and meeting him afterward as he graciously autographed copies of his book.*
I don’t like using the term “ROFL,” but I found it difficult to focus on Simon Doonan’s books for doing just that. Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You has a wonderful bit where he explains his technique of “talking through the hamster,” and Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints is one of the most amusing, heartwarming, and just flat out best memoirs I’ve ever read.
Dreaming of Dior: Every Dress Tells a Story, by Charlotte Smith, is an enchanting treasure trove featuring some of the over three hundred outfits bequeathed to Charlotte by her godmother. The lovely illustrations by Grant Cowan are accompanied by text about the previous owner and the adventures, soirees, and such that woman and outfit experienced. I am now awaiting the sequel, Dreaming of Chanel.
For a deeper look at apparel’s role in history both fashionable and personal, check out It’s All About the Dress: What I Learned in 40 Years About Men, Women, Sex, and Fashion by Vicky Tiel; Ilene Beckerman’s Love, Loss and What I Wore, which also happens to now be an off-Broadway show written by Delia and Nora Ephron; The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter by Linda Grant; I Want Those Shoes! by Paola Jacobbi; and Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel photographed by Eric Boman.
*Addendum: Kudos to Tim for giving his coauthor Ada Calhoun credit on the book cover and in the acknowledgments. Honestly, guys, in this day and age everyone knows that experts and so-called authors often work with writers and your readers won’t think any the less of you for doing so.