Chic, and Somewhat Literate

My cats are chewing the spines of my books — uncle Milkshake (RIP) pre-chewed many and so they think this ok — however, rather than deal with another book shelf that bows or is ugly, I’m trying to come up with some stacking solutions that look nice but are practical. And, you wouldn’t believe how many books I sold or gave away in our last move!

I was going to sort them by color, but then the subjects are all out of place and I’d like the widest and heaviest on the bottom. I’m always told I have the library of an “old queen”, or a Drag Queen.  I guess either suits me just fine! Make no mistake, I’ve forged many friendships thanks to my library.

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Yes, I have a Joan Crawford problem! (not pictured: the Joan Crawford paper doll book)

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Here is my profile on Goodreads.com if you would like to see my ratings.

I don’t like writing lengthy reviews of any sort, someone can pay me to do that! Not to mention, I’m not a huge fan of fiction.

Shoes*Socialites*Patrons*Gluttony: My Book List

Here are a list of some books I’ve enjoyed over the past year (there were plenty I didn’t care for) and thought they’d make good gifts for anyone interested in culture, art, vapid socialites, decor, history, and so forth.

The Louboutin monograph. Jesus! It’s huge, and covers all of his collections. It has a photo spread done by David Lynch, and is a piece of work itself. It weighs a ton!

If you can get a used copy of his full diaries, do it, but if you are a foodie and like history, this slim little book will do just fine. Mr. Pepys has a habit of over eating and being hungover quite often, it’s amazing he was able to do the amount of work he did!

Debra Shriver does what I wish I could do: lives part-time in New Orleans. This is a charming travel guide as much as it is a photographic journey through the restoration and decoration of her French Quarter home. There are some recipes in there, too!

A bit of a biography on Vreeland and all of her cohorts, and full layouts of Harper’s Bazaar they were scanned directly from the books.

A monster of a book with a brief bio of just about everyone! It is divided into categories like the old money, new money, patrons, artists, fashion designers, models, and so on. Famous photos, places they lived, and even scrap books.

Detailing the lives and rivalry between Karl Lagerfeld and Yves St. Laurent (although it goes into YSL a lot more), includes afterword and reaction from Kaaarl.

I bought this thinking it was a catalog for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This massive tome is a history of the wealthy collecting art and antiquities; but mostly those who built their own museums in America, and the process of acquiring: Huntington, Frick, Barnes, and so on.

Told by the current heir and holder of Knole, the largest great house in England. It goes into the history and geneology of this family and their circles; Samuel Pepys and Virginia Woolf make appearances among other famous scribes. Really it illustrates the decline of the British aristocracy, the problems primogeneture causes, and how holding on to a birthright is not a sustainable business.

Coffee Tables Books That Do and Don’t Deliver

I’ve had my eye on this new puppy, being that fits in perfectly with my art and design coffee table book addiction in subject matter and so forth. But until I can thumb through it, I am wary. What if it doesn’t live up to my standards? Granted my standards might not be everyone’s, but I expect a bang for my buck.

As an artist I expect good photos — lots of photos, but the writing has to be there too. Here are books from my collection I think were worth it, and some that fell flat in my expectations.

Happy Times. Oh Lee, you gloss over everything and the photos aren’t even that good or well produced. The only thing cute is the illustrations from the book you did with Jackie.

The Fashion Book. Odd choices of photos to represent various brands, models, and designers. Maybe the reproduction rights for certain photos were too much, but really, it tends to bore except for a few highlights here and there.

Dictator Style. Small, bad photo reproductions, and not enough of a visual sampling considering the subject matter.

Bright Young Things. You wonder why some of these people were chosen, let alone many photos don’t even show off their pad. There are a few good ones here and there, but it is spotty.  The profile on Serena Alschul, for instance, just shows her in front of a concrete wall because her apartment hadn’t even been finished yet!

A Privileged Life. Jayne Wrightsman is referred to as Jane — enough said.

Pad Parties. This one falls flat and has a bunch of things you’d probably never get around to actually doing, as opposed to the first book, where there was something for everyone.

Books that DO deliver…

Galliano. Need I say more? A good overview of his process, inspirations, important collections from school onward + part bio and philosophies behind staying true to the Dior tradition.

Over The Top. Just get it, even if you’ve never cared for her style or heard of her in the first place, just get it! Jewels, interiors, art collections, and old beauty treatments in gorgeous photos.

Design: Intelligence made visible. The motherload for any designer no matter what the product.

In the Kennedy Style. A good range of photos; Tish Baldrige writing in her usual style of name dropping that manages to be fun; anecdotes about various events, and recipes you can actually make at home that are easy.

100 Years of Fashion Illustration. Every kind you can imagine from every time period. A thick book with good reproductions.

Pad. A fun peek into various homes of L.A. creatives, it has resources and DIY projects as well. It makes me wanna do more stuff to my apartment every time I flip through it.

The Marchesa Casati. I talked about this before, but it’s a very comprehensive memoir and photo book of her and the art she commissioned from the days before she became what she was, and the inspiration she left after her death for designers of all kinds. The authors were clearly very passionate about this subject.