By  on December 27, 2000

NEW YORK -- The written word is making a major imprint on the fashion crowd.

The designer-celebrity connection has been well documented over the years, and now book tie-ins with retailers and fashion firms have become the rage. Bergdorf Goodman, Prada, Kate Spade, Lord & Taylor, Burton, Felissimo and DKNY are among the companies tying into the literary trend, partially to bring customers into stores, but also as a cultural connection between the crafts.

Take DKNY's inaugural literary series at its Madison Avenue store, where "Sex and the City" author Candace Bushnell's new book, "Four Blondes," was a natural selection to kick off the event. Guerrilla journalist Hunter Thompson was scheduled to cap off this year's program, but a bout of pneumonia kept him in bed.

"There's been so much with celebrities and fashion, with music and fashion, and movies and fashion. Why not have books and fashion?" said Patti Cohen, executive vice president of global marketing and communications for Donna Karan.

In the merger with literati, fashion stores and design firms see a worthy combination, leading some to host book signings or author appearances, and others to delve directly into print publishing.

Prada aptly named its new book "Luna Rossa," after Team Prada's yacht in this year's America's Cup finals. Packed with 600 photos, the 300-page book highlights Luna Rossa's races and the event's history. It is being published in Italy.

Kate Spade forged into the book scene with "Contents," which fittingly features colorful shots of the random items women cram into their handbags. Books were also featured prominently in a recent ad for the company. Vivienne Tam also got into the game last month with "China Chic," her 300-page take on Chinese culture, style and spiritualism.

Bergdorf Goodman also has committed to the book world. The upscale New York retailer has set up the Jane Stubbs Books and Prints Boutique on its seventh floor, where 550 vintage books, as well as prints and drawings, are for sale. Stubbs, a seasoned book purveyor, ran her own Upper East Side shop for a decade, and has now tweaked her offerings to appeal to the Bergdorf customer.

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