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Fashion books (to read, not just to look at): the 10 best to learn about the history of designer labels

There are wonderful fashion books full of fantastic images and incredible photos by great lens artists, portraying dream creations, worn by the most glamorous women on the globe, yesterday and today. Pure joy for the gaze of those who know how to be enchanted by beauty.

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Appointment at the Lirico theater in Milan on 25 and 26 November


Books all from enjoy with your eyes, precious and elegant objects. To be left, perhaps with a certain amount of study nonchalancein plain sight on the living room table, as a very chic interior design complement.

But there are also different fashion books, all worth reading: they are those non-fiction texts that tell stories the history, the adventures, the genesis of the greatest fashion brandsand existence creative geniuses who gave life to them over the last century.

True epics, in some cases, with almost legendary tones. But also intimate and moving stories of visionary, brilliant men with extraordinary intuition and sensitivity.

Stories of lives to read avidly, to satiate our desire to know what is behind the most luxurious brands in the world: passions, dreams, scandals, excesses, encounters, ambitions, dramas.

Here then 10 books, all to read, on contemporary luxury maisons, to really know their past, to understand their present and – perhaps – to imagine their future. Volumes that may not be brand new, but which you may have already come across in a bookshop. But the time has come to read from the first page to the last.

Dior – The magic of a style

(Diarkos, pages 240, €20.90)

The story of the life and career of the designer who, with the invention of New Look, in 1947, revolutionized the fashion of the time and the very idea of ​​femininity. A short existence, his, cut short at just 52 years of age in 1957 in Montecatini Terme, but whose creative vision continues with unaltered fortune even today: the Dior brand remains one of the most coveted and desired in the world, and a (large) part the credit for this success must still be attributed to the genius of the founder of the Parisian Maison, capable of giving life to what can rightly be considered a myth.

Louis Vuitton – The luxury of a dream

We all know the Louis Vuitton brand (and how could we not know it, after all?), but who really knows Louis Vuitton, the man and entrepreneur? Reading this book is the perfect opportunity to discover everything about this discreet and reserved man, born in the first half of the nineteenth century and who moved to Paris at a very young age, to transform himself from an apprentice suitcase maker, in just a few years, into the founder of a of the most famous brands in the world. Achieving a fame that perhaps not even he himself could have ever imagined.

(Diarkos, pages 231, €19)

Coco Chanel – A woman of our time

Few people – whether men or women – have had such a revolutionary impact on the history of costume as Gabrielle Chanel, and such a long-term influence. And few people, at the same time, have had such a troubled, intense, rich and fascinating life. This biography is yet another opportunity to learn about the anecdotes, passions and even the sufferings of this great woman of the twentieth century.

(Cairo, 160 pages, €12.75)

Being Armani – A biography

One of the great inventors of Made in Italy, one of the leading figures of Italian fashion, a surname that is synonymous with taste and elegance, and which is slowly but surely approaching its ninetieth birthday, which the Piacenza maestro will celebrate on next July 11th. Told by a pen who knows him well, the extraordinary life of what, for everyone, is simply King George.

(Baldini+Castoldi, pages 364, €15.30)

Hermès – The adventure of luxury

If there is a brand that, throughout the world, is synonymous with luxury, that brand is Hermès. We all know his iconic and dream bags, his colorful scarves, his best-selling perfumes. And we all know the extraordinary savoir faire jealously preserved by the many craftsmen who work for it. But who founded it? When? Where? And how did he manage to get to the present day while keeping his intact allure and the incredible quality of its products? There’s only one way to find out: read this book.

(Lindau, pages 241, €19.54)

Prada life – Characters, stories, background of a cultural phenomenon

Who could have imagined, in 1913, that when Mario Prada and his brother Martino, under the name Fratelli Prada, founded their leather, bag, travel and luxury accessories shop in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, they were right in that moment giving life to one of the most well-known and sought-after Italian brands in the entire globe? And who would have imagined that it would be his niece Miuccia, who joined the family business in 1971 and became President of the brand in 1978, who would give the fundamental turning point to that company?

(Baldini+Castoldi, pages 272, €16)

Shocking Life

The most eccentric, the most visionary, the most adorably crazy: Elsa Schiaparelli’s fashion was the most cultured and at the same time fun of the last century. Today the brand is famous for dressing global stars, from Beyoncé to Chiara Ferragni, but in the 1930s this woman with a strong and decisive character flirted with the European artistic avant-garde, from Surrealism on down, and gave life to a sharp and ingenious fashion, always on the edge of irony. This autobiography tells the story of her life, shocking just like the shade of the iconic pink she invented.

(Donzelli, pages 280, €21.25)

Valentino – Multi-voiced portrait of the last emperor of fashion

From Voghera to Rome, and from Rome to the whole world: Valentino Garavani has always wanted to be what he would become: the most loved, admired and desired couturier tailor on the globe. A life dedicated to the commitment to the search for beauty, which brought him to the highest step of the empyrean of fashion: it is no coincidence that he is known as the Emperor. The volume formula is that of the multi-entry dictionary. But the final result does not change: the backlit plot is that of the biography of the most aristocratic and elegant designer ever.

(Lindau, pages 304, €20.39)

The Versace myth – A biography

Perhaps a “Versace woman” has always existed, even well before Gianni Versace was born on December 2, 1946 in Reggio Calabria. A strong, sensual, strong-willed, even brazen woman. Decisive, sexy, mysterious. A woman ahead of her time. A woman for whom the Calabrian tailor was able to create a real second skin, a wardrobe characterized by maximalism and decor. This book tells the parable of his extraordinary and fortunate life, but also tragic in its dramatic epilogue.

(Baldini+Castoldi, pages 255, €16.15)

House of Gucci – A true story of fashion, greed, crime

The film of the same name by Ridley Scott was based on this book, with Lady Gaga in the role of Patrizia Gucci. If you were passionate about the film, the book will be an excellent way to go back and delve deeper into this complex family and financial history. But if you haven’t seen the film, then the saga in these pages will fascinate you even more…

(Garzanti, pages 480, €14.25)

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Source: Vanity Fair

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