The Glass library


“When we arrived in Paris, Rei Kawakubo and I, we weren’t completely aware of what we were doing” – Yohji Yamamoto.

[amazon asin=0847843548&text=Yohji Yamamoto]

And so it started: yet another remarkable chapter in the life of this humblest of fashion designers, a much-loved genius whose aesthetic philosophy has changed fashion and design immeasurably. This book is a true treasure itself – from the most revealing interviews with Yohji (he was only three when his father died) to his design philosophy (of his menswear, he explains: “I was born in a bad moment in Japan (with little food) … I am angry about my (small) size so I design big sizes)”, to a fascinating catwalk timeline with Yohji’s fantastical show invitations (Glass still has the tarpaulin invite from AW09/10 Homme).

Frederic Sanchez provides fascinating insight into Yohji’s music choices and his incomparable look books, from the Ascoli era (shot by Roversi, Knight, Sims, Vadukul). His cultural collaborations (with Wim Wenders, Pina Bausch) alone are so breathtaking you’ll spend hours just admiring the images. Added to this is the fact that Yohji and his compatriots here (Charlotte Rampling, Donata Wenders, Jules Wright) have also all been a part of Glass at one time or another – which makes this a particularly special tome. Beautiful, touching and rare: we love this.

[amazon asin=0847843548&text=Yohji Yamamoto/Published by Rizzoli/428 pages/£70]

[amazon asin=0847844218&text=Lanvin: I Love You by Alber Elbaz]
This is Alber Elbaz’s personal homage to the fashion house and people he designs for, in a visual medium that he is a master of: the mise-en-scène. Organised by Elbaz’s instincts and emotions rather than chronology, this book collects images of his Lanvin: of everything, in no discernible order, from window displays from different seasons to backstage shots, to shop-fronts, sketches to notes. There are no actual people here (the closest we get is a cut-out facsimile Elbaz on a storefront at the end). Instead, the breadth of his playful, elegant set pieces, from places as varied as Printemps to Art Basel Miami Beach, serve to elevate his designs to realms of fantasy. His jottings are almost customarily tongue-in-cheek (one begins, “This is a story of a giraffe.”) If there is any wonder at all why the fashion world loves this man – look no further.

[amazon asin=0847844218&text=Lanvin: I Love You by Alber Elbaz. Published by Rizzoli/260 pages/£47.50]

[amazon asin=0847845761&text=Dior: New Couture by Patrick Demarchelier]
This sophomore volume of Demarchelier’s breathtaking images of Dior Couture brings together not only the recent Raf Simons pieces but also vintage creations from Monsieur Dior himself. Along the way, there are stunners galore: the Koh-I-Noor dress from Gianfranco Ferre (A/W 1996), the Saint Laurent era Nuit de Grenade dress (S/S1960), and an original 1947 dove-white Bar jacket from Dior himself. Creations from the Galliano, Bohan and Simons era also feature in beautiful form. For all lovers of high fashion – this is couture immortalised by one of the few who truly know how to.

[amazon asin=0847845761&text=Dior: New Couture by Patrick Demarchelier. Published by Rizzoli/240 pages/£70]

[amazon asin=0847843858&text=The Glass of Fashion by Cecil Beaton]
This glorious reissue of the 1954 classic by writer and photographer Cecil Beaton chronicles the epochal moments in fashion of the era when glamour was as rarefied as air travel. Through 18 chapters and more than 150 drawings, Beaton paints a vivid picture of what it would’ve been like in the company of Chanel, Poiret, Schiaparelli, Dior, as well as long-lost society ladies and even his aunt Jessie – all fashion icons in his regard. Witty, occasionally gossipy and highly entertaining, this book is relevant even now for its cutting observations of fashion and celebrity (and its wonderfully prescient title!)

[amazon asin=0847843858&text=The Glass of Fashion by Cecil Beaton. Published by Rizzoli/400 pages/£18.75]

[amazon asin=0847843319&text=Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography by Charlotte Cotton, Martin Harrison and Michel Mallard]
This engrossing book is a visual compendium of the most memorable images of fashion giant Louis Vuitton’s products shot by the image-makers of our time. The photographers’ roster reads like a who’s who of fashion photography: Bourdin, Newton, Avedon, and Glass photographers like Walter Chin and Glass favourites including Gleb Derujinsky. The images are of stunning quality – whether recent, like Glass Beijing Editor Lucia Liu’s images with Chen Man for i-D in 2012, or earlier on John Rawlings’s shot from 1954.

The essence of many of the images, as proposed by Harrison, is an affinity to performance art. The documenting of a unique, “perfect” moment in time certainly brings this element of performance to the fore: take the precision of Jean-Paul Goude’s now infamous image of Naomi Campbell nude with Marc Jacobs as a ballerina, the latter on an LV trunk. Perhaps most tellingly, the flashback section of images pre-1998 showed the visual power of the ‘status’ handbags a long time before the Sprouse/Murakami era.

[amazon asin=0847843319&text=Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography by Charlotte Cotton, Martin Harrison and Michel Mallard/Published by Rizzoli/352 pages/£50]

by Nicola Kavanagh