This year has produced a number of interesting books on fashion that are as rich in textual content as most are in gorgeous visuals. Here are a few that I plan to, quite literally, check out this winter break.
I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, With a Twist by Betty Halbreich – What a great title and with glowing reviews to match! In this memoir, Betty Halbreich, Berdorf-Goodman’s head personal shopper and stylist, recounts nearly 40 years of dressing the rich and famous. She also candidly comments on her journey to from sheltered privilege to sartorial savvy. Here’s a review from the Wall Street Journal
Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton – Two novelists and an artist surveyed over 600 women – young, old and from all walks of life – on their relationships with clothing, dressing and fashion. The result is the book Women in Clothes, which contains full and partial interviews with the subjects, photos of personal clothing items, diagrams, and even poems all stemming from the evolving set of questions posed by the authors. I can’t wait to read it. Here’s the New Yorker‘s take on the book.
Worn Stories by Emily Spivak – A long a similar line as the above title, Worn Stories explores people’s relationship with clothing. Emily Spivak- who is currently the writer of the Smithsonian’s blog Threaded – has been collecting personal narratives about clothing on her own blog (also entitled Worn Stories) since 2010. Sixty of these stories are published in the book and interestingly, Heidi Julavits (coauthor of Women in Clothes) is among those who contributed a clothing tale. Emily Spivak also curates a blog on clothing and memory called Sentimental Value that pulls from Ebay item descriptions. You can listen to an interview with Spivak here.
All three title were released in September of 2014, but I only just now have time to read them.