As frequent readers know, I’ve decided to start exploring my more fashionable side and to get up to speed I’ve been delving into a plethora of fashion books. Four are brand spanking new, and one is a few years old. They are all very accessible, enjoyable reads.
The End of Fashion by Teri Agins
This is the old-ish book (year 2000) with the somewhat drastic title. It provides a great insight into the old world of couture, leading up to fast fashion. I loved it for the business examples (I do have a commerce degree!) such as licensing, Ralph vs. Tommy and a rather clueless Donna Karan on her IPO. I would recommend it for those looking for a broader background into the business world of today’s fashion, as well as a few juicy stories.
In My Shoes by Tamara Mellon
Oh my Tamara. Follow this Jimmy Choo founder on her rollercoaster life which includes partying with her upper class buds in London, to starting up her firm with the incompetent Jimmy Choo. Along the way you get a crazy mother, and drug addicted husband. She also provides quite a bit of business advice including navigating the world of private equity. I think this was my favourite out of the five.
The Asylum by Simon Doonan
I just want to pick Mr Doonan up and squeeze him to pieces. Witty, sharp and spectacular, I loved this book into the not so serious, but oh so serious world of fashion. Celebrating the odd-balls who make the fashion world what it is, with plenty of anecdotes to boot, I think this was my second favourite. His writing is just so yum.
Man Repeller by Leandra Medine
I never followed the totally fabulous and utterly crazy fashion blog Man Repeller, but you can sure bet I do now. Leandra is totally frank and open (period stains? swapping underwear with her mom?) and crazy about fashion to boot. More of a memoir of her life in Manhattan, and less a complete ode to fashion, this book is still a nice little read. There’s talk of a movie, and I keep wondering who would be fit to play Leandra?
The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements
This was still an enjoyable read, but perhaps my least favourite (or perhaps I was just nearing fashion book fatigue). It all seemed a little too neat and clean, perhaps just like Vogue itself, of which Clements embodies through and through. A behind the scenes look, and a fabulous lifestyle for sure but it all seemed too neatly packaged, too many positive experiences, too many best friends, too many smiley times. She also seems a little elitist, even though she strives hard not too, and you can tell she thinks the current crop of fashion journalists are all a bit crap. Hmm….
So, and just to stir the pot, both Tamara Mellon and Kirstie Clements had children. And both had crazy careers which led them spinning around the globe for weeks at a time. I know the books are about fashion, but I’d like to have known how they handled motherhood and their children – my guess is that they didn’t. They knew that globe spinning was part of their job, they put childcare in place, and they went about their business. I suppose I’m just not that person. But, then again, I don’t want it all like them. As my friend once said to me – I don’t want it all, I’ll just take a third… and that, folks, is I think an entirely new blog post.