April Books: Paris, Africa, London and Hollywood

Spring weather has really hit Northern California, and shopping is on my mind. Oddly enough, that made me think about new books for Spring. The following are four fashion titles due out this month.

1. Paris 1962: Yves Saint Laurent and Dior, Christian Dior, The Early Collections (Rizzoli) by Jerry Schatzberg, and Julia Morton, with an introduction by Patricia Bosworth (Hardcover – April 29, 2008)

I suspect that this one, written by a filmmaker/photographer and an art/culture writer, Paris 1962 will be primarily a book of photography by Schatzberg’s coverage of fashion in 1962, with commentary by Morton. The jacket copy suggests intrigue, scandal and chic-ness in the extreme. I would be interested to see how this compares to The Beautiful Fall (a biography of the rivalry between YSL and Lagerfeld and of Paris nightlife – written by a journalist). Watch for this one to pop up in reviews alongside the YSL exhibit that’s coming to the de Young Museum in San Francisco in November.

Natural Fashion

2. Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa (Thames & Hudson) by Hans Silvester (Hardcover – April 28, 2008)

The cover on this just blew me away (pictured above). Natural Fashion documents the nomadic peoples of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley and their styles of ornamentation. Given that there are 168 pages in the book, and 160 color photographs, I’m guessing that this is also primarily a photography book. Amazon appears to have it in stock now, and it does look like it might have some inspiring images. That said, one reviewer for Amazon was critical, saying “Are they decorating themselves out of some tribal tradition, or for the benefit of the photographer?.” A valid point, and so probably not for the serious academic studying ‘real’ styles of ethnic dress.

3. Eco-chic: The Fashion Paradox (Black Dog Publishing) by Sandy Black (Paperback – April 15, 2008)

Written by Sandy Black of the London College of Fashion, this promises to be a “comprehensive survey.” Why is it that the UK always delivers real academic studies of fashion, while US publishers give as only splash and glitter? Sigh… in any case, from the description it looks like this book might have too many UK references to be relevant in the US (aka Marks & Spencer), but of course I can’t say that for certain. Regardless, I suspect that UC Davis will include the book on their shelves when their exhibit Fashion Conscious: Designs that will change the world one garment at a time.

4. Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label (Monacelli) by Christian Esquevin (Hardcover – April 10, 2008)

So maybe I saved the best for last – Adrian is one of my guilty little pleasures (tied of course to my academic research on Natacha Rambova). He’s a fashion and Hollywood personality, he’s trendy, and I’m curious to see what Christian Esquevin has to say about him (if anything). Esquevin is a sketch collector out of San Diego (and a librarian), so I have a hunch that this is primarily a book of photographs and illustrations (But who knows, there isn’t much in the description to tell me about it). Some of Esquevin’s illustrations were used in Dressed. I’m hoping to have a copy of Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label soon – I’ll be sure to let you know what I find out.

I also want to thank Monica for inviting me to contribute to her blog. I hope to do more as time goes on.



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