I love a good book and I have really enjoyed these beauty and fashion centered titles, returning to them on a regular basis for both artistic and historical reference. I purchased all but one as an e-book, but I may purchase a couple of others in hard cover, since I keep referring back to them so often.
Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda Garelick
Garelick has really done her homework for this expose on Coco Chanel. Her insights into one of the world’s preeminent fashion leaders kept me spellbound. More than just a focus on fashion, Mademoiselle walks you through the history of Chanel’s life, from her humble upbringing, to her less than popular political affiliations, to her very lonely death. While Chanel is an icon in the fashion and beauty industry, I wonder just how many people know the reality of her life. This book is a wonderful account of fashion history that I will no doubt read again.
Elsa Shiaparelli: A Biography by Meryle Secrest
While Chanel was busy making ‘ready to wear’ a fashion staple, Shiaparelli was making her own artistic statement and wowing the crowds of the early twentieth century. Although she and Chanel were rivals in their day, their impact on the fashion industry was no doubt equal in terms of lasting influence and staying power. Shiaparelli was an artist for the times and had business acumen to rival that of any man of her generation, building a business empire that stands to this day.
I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, With a Twist by Betty Halbreich with Rebecca Paley
The best autobiography I have read in years, Ms. Halbriech takes us behind the scenes at the world famous Bergdorf Goodman, where she has served as a personal shopper for 39 years to everyone and anyone who walks through her doors with a personal request. Halbreich gives us insight into the history of Bergdorf’s, the secrets of a savvy shopper, and the realities of the fashion industry. A woman before her time, Halbreich has led a life that we fashionistas only dream about. Going on 88 years of age, she remains a class act in her career to this day. A must read.
Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline
While I have always been one to put quality over quantity, this is the book that started me on my own personal quest of ‘minimal fashion’. I have always been a label shopper, but perhaps not in the way you may think: I check labels to see where clothing is made knowing full well that many nations use child and/or slave laborers to manufacturer the more than affordable clothing we buy today. Cline takes us much deeper, showing us the realities of environmental damage to our planet and the sweatshop lifestyle of those forced to work in such hazardous conditions so that the rest of the world has access to ‘fast fashion’. A real eye-opener, this book will wake you up to what that discount jersey or souvenir T-shirt really costs.
Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes
Make-up extraordinaire Sally Hughes takes you through today’s cosmetic industry and figuring out which products are right for your specific situation and need. A no-nonsense guide to beauty, Pretty Honest is just that.
Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+ by Andrea Q. Robinson
While I am reluctant to follow the fashion and beauty ‘rules’ that our mother’s and grandmother’s subscribed to, preferring women do what works for them at any age, there is a lot of truth in this little beauty book. Robinson helps those of a certain age cut through the hype to find helpful products and tools to maintain our beautiful appearance beyond our youth. A good reference guide for those constantly confused about what is and is not in their best beauty interest in mid-life and beyond.
Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge
What can I say? If you have not read this book, stop what you are doing and buy it now. I got my hard copy the month this one hit the shelves and I am still drooling over it. Eldridge takes us through the history of makeup from the Egyptians to todays It girl, exploring everything from how the Victorian’s and the Japanese Geishas made their own lead based foundations to the start-up of the major commercial brands we know today. The icons who inspired her are scattered throughout in both beautiful color and black and white. It is easy to see how Eldridge rose to the top of her profession as this lady really knows her stuff. Her passion for beauty history and what makes us unique makes her a treasured artist of our time.
Fashion and Beauty enthusiasts will find something to enjoy from my favorite beauty reads. I continue to relish in the history and secrets these books bring to light, as well as in finding inspiration for my own style. Browse one today and see what you can find for presenting your own unique face to the world.