I have a favourite place at work that I return to every single day. I spend a minute or two wandering around a display table stacked with fashion and textile books. While this is not my genre, I still go back to read each title, to see if I can find anything of interest. Three out of the twenty-five books displayed have been worth the pick-up. Two have made it past the till point. The first book I purchased was Chanel: The Making of a Collection (Karl Lagerfeld) and the second is on Mary Quant. Two influential names that I have grown to know as the biggest fashion icons of the 21st century.
Karl Lagerfeld was renowned for his pertinent approach to style. He remodeled many brands and changed the direction of fashion. Aside from his key role as a designer, he was also an avid reader. His compilation of books (primarily on art and photography) was as grand as everything about him. His library housed approximately 100,000 books. A dream come true for me, I could easily spend 10 years there, all I would need is a fridge.
On to Mary Quant, the question is what didn’t she do? She revolutionised fashion, mini skirts and bold prints. For a young (sixties) generation she was a fashion innovator, changing the way clothes were seen, worn and felt. She promoted street style (the Chelsea look) and created mix and match outfits for wardrobes everywhere. My hosiery stash wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Quant.
Not going into full detail, both books are two hundred (plus) page long memorabilias of riveting deep-rooted careers in fashion. They’re filled with fascinating tales, unprecedented behind the scene details, a walk through the headquarters, premiere to fashion shows, tailoring of dresses, beautifully rendered illustrations, a rich volume of thoughts and meticulous processes. In essence an abundance of aesthetic inspiration. With a creative imagination, the texts alone are similar to artistic illustrations, bold confidence drawn with thick permanent ink markers and filled in with a solid wash of vibrant colours.
Tracing inspiration from anywhere, be it fashion or science, is bringing back to life my artistic route. As much as I would love to be sitting in the front row of a fashion show, gawking at every scrupulous outfit or taking part in crafty science experiments. I’m building a collection of memoirs, delving into the history and culture of prominent designers through books.