LOOKING BOOKISH: If ever there was a doubt that fashion books still have a role to play in the Instagram era, it was quashed last night in Paris as the fashion pack flocked to several launch events for the latest tomes to hit the market.
Colette was the venue for the introduction of “Dior by Avedon” (Rizzoli), written by Justine Picardie and Olivier Saillard, which drew a crowd of guests, including Cressida Bonas, Erin O’Connor, Gaia Repossi, Marisa Berenson and Caroline Vreeland, to the store’s basement.
“Fashion can sometimes seem so transitory, and in a digital age when things disappear in the blink of an eye, to do something that is a physical object like this book, that has real beauty, is also a reminder of how fashion and photography at its greatest can take on the stature of art,” said Picardie, who is editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar U.K. and the author of several books on fashion.
“There’s a modernity, as well, to these images, in the way he took photography and couture out onto the streets,” she continued. “People talk about street style. Well, Avedon was doing street style in his own very individual way 60 years ago.”
“Books are permanent, and I think books mean a lot to fashion designers because their work is so ephemeral and fast-moving,” said Charles Miers, publisher at Rizzoli New York, behind the tome plus two others launched last night.
The house is also publishing “Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman,” by Alexander Vreeland, which was being signed by the author on the store’s first floor, and “Gloss: The Work of Chris von Wangenheim,” by Mauricio and Roger Padilha, which was launched around the corner at Marc Jacobs’ Bookmark store.
“We did Kim Kardashian’s ‘Selfish’ book, so I’ve been thinking a lot about these issues,” Miers added, saying that fashion tomes have really gained in popularity over the past 10 years.
“There’s something about a book that’s so much better than seeing a photo on Instagram,” said Roger Padilha. “It’s tangible. I have one wall with all books, and that’s the one thing that I’ll buy that I will treasure. Clothing I throw out, but I would never throw out a book.”
With his brother Mauricio, Padhila put together the volume of von Wangenheim’s work in order to remind the fashion world of the continuing influence the photographer, who died in 1981.
“Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton were credited with this shock photography of the Seventies, but Chris was a part of that, and people haven’t really seen the work until now,” said Padhila.
Vreeland, meanwhile, is keen to draw attention to Diana Vreeland’s time at Harper’s Bazaar.
“These images that my grandmother created in her 26 years at Harper’s Bazaar are the backbone of modern fashion imagery,” he said. “She’s always known for her years at Vogue, but really the creativity that she had in these images were so exciting, her vision for women was transformative.
“We have so few heroes in fashion — heroines, even — and I think she’s one of them,” Alexander Vreeland continued. “People need to see this body of work.”