As I’m writing this, the online style community is rightfully pitching a fit over the smug comments by Vogue.com editors about “desperate” bloggers attending Milan Fashion Week. Such comments reflect the arrogance of those who fail to recognize today’s real fashion influencers. Fortunately, three of this year’s best style books know what an influencer looks like.
GO AHEAD AND COVET
When TheCoveteur.com launched in 2011, it was little more than a handful of profiles of the “unsung heroes of the [fashion] industry,” like makeup artists and stylists, individuals who guide our cultural aesthetic without our even knowing. Today, the website receives over four million visitors each month. The Coveteur: Private Spaces, Personal Style assembles 43 models, designers and style icons who have invited the Coveteur squad into their homes to photograph the contents of their (multiple) closets and the objects that fill their personal spaces.
The book moves alphabetically, from Jessica Alba to Japanese DJ Mademoiselle Yulia, in a ravenous mural of curated excess. Each tastemaker’s section opens with a gushy essay from Coveteur cofounders Stephanie Mark and Jake Rosenberg about the experience of making these private spaces public, followed by photos that are simultaneously blown-out and wonderfully oversaturated. Some profiles are an amuse-bouche, as with designer Alice Temperley, whose mansion sits atop an ancient Tudor bear-fighting pen. Other profiles feel gluttonous, like Linda Rodin’s—creator of “cultish elixir” Rodin Olio Lusso—whose over-the-top piles of “thingamabobs” look like the Little Mermaid’s collection of souvenirs.
In the Coveteur world, decadence is synonymous with compulsive hoarding, and “excess” is the dirty word you can’t stop saying.
The museum exhibition “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” is currently touring the United States, hopping from Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum to its current placement at Kentucky’s Speed Art Museum. From an 1860 spiked running shoe to original Air Jordan 1s, the 150 iconic sneakers included in the show represent the shoe’s cultural evolution from physical fitness tool to status symbol. There is a book associated with this show, Out of the Box by Elizabeth Semmelhack, which includes interviews, essays and ad campaigns. But for a comprehensive encyclopedia to sneakers, add Mathieu Le Maux’s 1000 Sneakers: A Guide to the World’s Greatest Kicks, from Sport to Street to your collection. It’s a fully loaded catalog for sneakerheads, with side-by-side comparisons of all the sneakers that matter most, from groundbreaking designs by Nike and Adidas to luxury styles from Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin. It’s bright and bold, with need-to-know facts, quick stats and anecdotes about sneaker superstars like Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith. Did you know “Asics” is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, meaning “a healthy soul in a healthy body”? And because it’s (arguably) impossible to determine which sneaker is the best, there’s a section dedicated to the top shoes in a variety of categories: the most expensive, the top sneakers in movies, top Kanye, even the best for babies. See which sneakers are hottest in 2016, check out the glossary in the back for any further questions, and your education is complete.
Does anyone else get tired of dwelling on how hard it is to be a girl? Don’t get me wrong—give me any opportunity to honor the powerhouse women who blazed the trail, who inched us closer to equality in the face of sexism, and I’ll take it. But for those who need an exit strategy for the conversation, there’s Nasty Galaxy by Sophia Amoruso, entrepreneur and founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal. Following her bestselling #GIRLBOSS, it’s a baby-pink compendium of Amoruso’s personal brand, filled with music, movie and book recommendations, profiles of “Bad Bitches” like Betty Davis, Grace Jones and Meiko Kaji, interviews with “Girlbosses” like filmmaker Alex Prager and Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine, and absolutely zero fashion advice. Alternately philosophical and frivolous, Amoruso shares her struggles with professional networking, quotes Gertrude Stein and offers some of the most hilarious advice that I’ve ever seen in a fashion book, with varying levels of usefulness (How to Go Commando; How to Check Out of a Fancy Hotel). In the Nasty Galaxy, style inspiration is infinite: Amoruso’s flawless bedroom was styled after a pair of vintage suede shorts.
Equal parts bad behavior and modern-day class, Nasty Galaxy is a glut of cool.
This article was originally published in the November 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.