Hip, chic and readable

Updated: Apr 09, 2020, 10:24 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani | Mumbai

Stuck at home and missing your fashion fix? Five designers pick their favourite books to help keep your style quotient up this weekend

Iris Apfel
Iris Apfel

Time travel

Payal Singhal

Designer Payal Singhal is known for her prints and bohemian silhouettes, but it is the lives of iconic designers in Paris from the ‘70s that caught her attention in The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake. “It is an engaging read about that time, and is centred on Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent,” she says. Her second pick, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost It’s Luster by Dana Thomas is a look at the corporatisation of small family-run luxury businesses into luxury goods holding companies. It looks into the processes used by these companies to make luxury available for sale to the masses. Like most other designers on our list, Singhal follows @BOF @thevofashion on Instagram for news on fashion. One documentary she recommends is Franca: Chaos and Creation, a film about the life of Franca Sozzani, former editor of Vogue Italia; it’s extra special because her son, photographer and filmmaker Francesco Carrozzini, made it. Sadly, Sozzani passed away in 2016 before seeing the final cut. Another pick is Iris, a documentary on the life of nonagenarian fashion icon Iris Apfel.

Christian Dior with his models after a fashion parade at the Savoy Hotel, London in 1950. Pic/Getty Images
Christian Dior with his models after a fashion parade at the Savoy Hotel, London in 1950. Pic/Getty Images

Inside a fashion house

Amit Aggarwal

Designer Amit Aggarwal tells us that he is using the lockdown period to read books on management and self-development, genres he barely manages to catch up on otherwise. The only Instagram handle that interests him is @BOF. He recommends reading Dior by Dior, an autobiography about the iconic French fashion house, where founder Christian Dior shares details about his childhood, couture from the ’50s and things that inspired his work and design ethic. “It is an easy read that offers simplicity behind the brand’s vision,” he says.

Birkin on my mind

Birkin on my mind

Birkin on my mind

Two books that Nachiket Barve picks are Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello, and Deluxe by Dana Thomas, which he considers an exposé of the luxury fashion market. “Bringing Home the Birkin is a humorous title on the ‘need it now’ lifestyle in fashion in the pre-Corona period. It’s an absurd throwback to a time when getting the ‘it’ bag was a passion for a certain kind of person. It traces the journey across the world to secure the coveted Hermès bag. Travel is impossible today, and I don’t think anybody has used a handbag in the last month. The book almost feels surreal in today’s times when we are all stuck in our homes. Everybody in my family is a doctor, and this parallel world where people hop on a private plane and jet across continents for a bag is far removed from this reality,” he admits. He follows @BOF and @thevofashion for news and updates on international and Indian fashion.

Runway madness

Runway madness

Shruti Sancheti’s favourite book is Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edward Jones. “I read it while I was teaching fashion, and was yet to launch my label. It traces the life of a British designer for six months from London Fashion Week, and across the pond to New York Fashion Week. Although it is a light read, bursting with gossip, it offers an understanding of the world of fashion, its models and mood boards, and how a collection is executed and showcased on the runway,” she states. Sancheti, too follows @BOF on Instagram; she recommends that everyone in fashion should follow it to understand aspects related to the industry, from crucial issues and beauty to education and gossipy tidbits.

Go natural

Go natural

Go natural

Weaving is considered to be one of the world’s oldest professions. For designer Anavila Misra, who is known for her handwoven textile work, the book Indigo: The Colour that Changed the World by Catherine Legrand made for a great insight on natural dyeing practices. “It’s amazing to go through the book and observe how a universal practice, following exactly the same steps can create distinct cultural textiles,” says Misra. She also recommends The Way We Live by Stafford Cliff and Gilles de Chabaneix which connects the world of design and décor through spaces across the world.

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