Fashion, photography…and cows: Some of the best new reading for fall.
The Little Dictionary of Fashion
To accompany The Golden Age of Couture exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Harry N. Abrams has rereleased Christian Dior’s The Little Dictionary of Fashion, first published in 1954. The entries cover everything from “Armholes” (“Remember that too deep an armhole is very fattening”) to “Zest” (“You have to live with zest…that is the secret of beauty and fashion, too”).
Ellsworth Kelly: 1954 Drawings on a Bus
What’s in a shadow? Plenty. In Ellsworth Kelly’s case, they were the idea for his Sketchbook 23, which Steidl has reproduced from cover to cover. The artist was on a bus when he noticed the moving shadows the window frame cast—Kelly would record the shifting forms in a blank book he had on hand, and later ink in the drawings.
Robert Gober: Sculptures 1979-2007
Robert Gober is most famous for his sink sculptures, but the breadth that his oeuvre, Robert Gober: Sculptures 1979-2007 (Steidl/Schaulager), shows is much larger. This 520-page tome explores the other means with which he took on the larger themes of the familiar and the unsettlingly uncanny. A bonus: Gober’s own commentary on his designs.
Points of View
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Berlin’s Kicken Gallery is releasing Points of View, a 320-page compendium on photography itself. While that sounds rather broad, the book’s approach will please both those looking to beef up their party banter and know-it-all enthusiasts. More than 100 key figures are highlighted, from Irving Penn to L??szl?? Moholy-Nagy, each accompanied by a mini essay.
Chris Burden has been shot in the arm; spread atop a Volkswagen and had nails rammed through his palms, and kicked repeatedly down a flight of stairs—all in the name of performance art. Delve into his controversial body of work with the first-ever monograph, Chris Burden (Locus + Publishing Ltd.)—over 400 pages worth—which includes his tamer sculptures and installations in later years.
Holy cow. The images in lensman Larry E. McPherson’s latest book are, simply put, remarkable. The subject itself? Humdrum barn animals—which is what’s so surprising about publisher Steidl’s The Cows. Originally shot in the Seventies on a farm in Lake County, Ill., these photographs of bovine beauties are oddly compelling. Some are straight-up soothing; others, curiously Surrealist, like the Man Ray Anatomies-esque shot of a lone cow stretched out grazing in the grass. Fitting, then, is the following line in the introduction by the Art Institute of Chicago’s David Travis: “Photography has the same power to catch what is at once familiar and strange.”
Chanel: Collection and Creations
Another book on Chanel? But this latest offering, by Thames & Hudson, is a must-have for fashion aficionados. Danièle Bott had open access to the company’s private archives—the book includes previously unpublished photos—and she follows the label through five iconic themes: the suit, the camellia, jewelry, beauty and the LBD.
The impressive volume Antony Gormley traces his career in exploring the figure through sculpture, whether in skeletal stainless steel bars or body impressions in an enormous block of stacked bread. The arresting catalogue also includes commentary text by Gormley, as well as extracts from his own notebooks and sketches.
Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design
If there’s a book to have on costume design in Tinseltown, this is it. The author behind the Harper Collins book is Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the president of the Costume Designers Guild. Then there’s its scope—the films range from The Ten Commandments to Beetlejuice, featuring stills, sketches and firsthand accounts from the movies’ major players.
With Alber Elbaz at the helm, Lanvin is a label on everybody’s lips these days—but just how much do we know of house founder Jeanne Lanvin? While Lanvin’s peers, Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel, get much more buzz, Rizzoli’s treatise on the designer proves there is enough intrigue surrounding the quiet Frenchwoman to fill 400 pages.
Now Voyagers: The Night Sea Journey
Diva Mawrdew Czgowchwz is back. For those unfamiliar with James McCourt’s celebrated 1971 novel of that name, it’s pronounced “Mardu Gorgeous.” This time, the protagonist in his opera world, set in Fifties New York, has become a psychoanalyst and is traveling the Atlantic on the Queen Mary—a tale told in McCourt’s deliciously witty, flamboyant prose.