Tag Archives: coffee table books

From fashion to film, gift-worthy coffee table books abound

Come holiday time, there’s never a shortage of splashy coffee table books to please just about any aficionado.

Some suggestions:


“Fashion Made Fair,” by Magdalena Schaffrin and Ellen Kohrer, Prestel, $49.95. Know someone deeply committed to sustainability in fashion? Taking a truly world view, this book dives deeply into companies that do it well. In Zurich, for instance, look to the brothers Freitag, Daniel and Markus. They’re bag makers who launched F-abric, a line of compostable workwear.

“Reigning Men, Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015,” by Sharon Sadako Takeda, Kaye Durland Spilker and Clarissa M. Esguerra, DelMonico Books, $55. Going back to the 18th century, this tome celebrates all aspects of men’s dressing, from the French court to Speedo. Among contemporary high points: An intricately bleached denim suit by Vivienne Westwood and a futuristic ruffle suit by Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons.

“Francois Nars,” by Francois Nars, Rizzoli International, $85. With some of the most famous faces in fashion represented, the visionary behind NARS Cosmetics tells his story in beautiful close-up color, with snippets of remembrances and inspirations. He includes the communion looks of both his parents and makes it clear beauty begins with beautiful skin.



“The Lyrics: 1961-2012,” by Bob Dylan, Simon & Schuster, $60. The Nobel Prize-winning man of the hour, and of oh-so-many hours, has released 36 studio albums that have sold more than 120 million copies. This book includes lyrics from his first album to “Tempest,” released in 2012. Dylan has edited dozens of songs for the book, to reflect the words he uses as he performs them now.

“The Rolling Stones: All the Songs, the Story Behind Every Track,” by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon, Black Dog & Leventhal, $50. The book covers 50 years and 340 songs, beginning with the band’s 1963 debut album. More than 500 photos are included, along with details like what instruments were used in the studio.

“David Bowie Play Book,” by Matteo Guarnaccia and Giulia Pivetta, ACC Art Books, $29.95. What better way to honor the icon who died in January than with a color, cut and play set. Includes paper dolls and his favorite footwear spanning his ever-changing look and a coloring page of the people who inspired him, from Dylan to Marlene Dietrich.



“Hollywood Icons,” by Robert Dance, ACC Editions, $65. Stunning studio portraits of film icons from the 1930s through the ‘60s from the collection of the John Kobal Foundation. Kobal was a film journalist and historian who amassed a huge collection of Hollywood portraits and set images. Look for Bette Davis, shot by George Hurrell for Warner Bros. in 1939.

“My Elizabeth,” by Firooz Zahedi, Glitterati, $75. Friend and acclaimed photographer Zahedi offers a private peek into Taylor’s life from 44 into her 70s. Includes the Washington, D.C., years, jaunts in Montauk, New York with Halston and Andy Warhol and intimate photos of her children and stepchildren. There’s Taylor making fried chicken, on a boat in Venice, on a trip to Iran.

“The Malkovich Sessions,” by Sandro Miller, Glitterati, $95. “Being John Malkovich” is so 1999. In this book, rather than on film, John Malkovich gets to be himself, in all his goofy, creepy glory. And he gets to recreate some of the world’s most iconic portraits, with the help of photographer Miller, in a book that offers both pathos and whimsy.



“Young Frankenstein, The Story of the Making of the Film,” by Mel Brooks, Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.99. Whether you’re a first-generation “Young Frankenstein” fan or trying to nudge along the next, nobody does this 1974 classic better than Brooks himself. With a foreword by Judd Apatow (“Even Gene Hackman is funny in it”) and behind-the-scenes photos, a great to hear the now 90-year-old Brooks in his own voice.

“Shop Cats of New York,” by Tamar Arslanian, photos by Andrew Marttila, Harper Design, $21.99. To heck with that Yelp reviewer who dissed the bodega cat. This book shows that shop life can work for felines, with a warning that not all may be treated like kings and queens. Dwelling in wine shops, bookstores, dry cleaners and yes, The Algonquin Hotel, think “Humans of New York,” only cats.

“Dream a World Anew: The African American Experience and the Shaping of America,” by National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Books, $40. As much a primer on the slave trade and racial discrimination as a celebration of early black entrepreneurs, musicians, writers, activists and athletes in a nuanced, global context. Marks the opening of the new museum in Washington, D.C., great for tweens and teens.


Holiday Gift Guide: Deck the tables with oversized gift books

As self-purchases, coffee table books may seem like pricey indulgences, but as gifts they’re an easy way to please a connoisseur, hobbyist or wannabe.

Usually image-driven, often encyclopedic, coffee table books come in all sorts of genres for all sorts of people. Consider …


The Rolling Stones, edited by Reuel Golden, brief foreword by former President Bill Clinton. If it’s large-scale satisfaction you crave for your superfan, this 13-by-13-inch tome will do the trick at 522 pages of images, with limited text. Photographers David Bailey, Peter Beard, Cecil Beaton, Bob Bonis, Anton Corbijn, Annie Leibovitz and Helmut Newton are among the contributors, with a few Linda McCartney-shot images thrown in. Taschen, $150. 

Jimmy Page, by Jimmy Page. This visual autobiography by the Led Zeppelin guitarist travels from his days as a choirboy to this promise at the end: “It might get louder.” It includes the work of rock photographers, and personal and tour memorabilia in 512 pages. Genesis Publications, $60.

All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release, by Jean-Michel Guesdon and Philippe Margotin, consulting editor Scott Freiman. As if there’s anything more for the truly obsessed, this 672-pager drills down to the genesis and production of 213 Beatles songs released in less than a decade, with photos and breakout factoids for fanatics. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, $50.


The Art of Discovery, by Jeff Vespa, edited by Robin Bronk. This volume features more than 100 celebrity portraits (Jessica Chastain, Shailene Woodley, Jared Leto, Seth Rogan) and quotes in 216 pages describing important moments in their lives. A portion of proceeds will go to support the arts advocacy programs of The Creative Coalition. Rizzoli, $45.

The World of PostSecret, by Frank Warren. It’s been 10 years since Warren first asked people to anonymously send him handmade postcards with their deepest secrets. Since, he’s received more than 1 million, traveling the world to talk about his project and lending them to museums. This is his sixth book of postcards (288 pages) and might be his last as he contemplates turning over the project to someone new. William Morrow, $29.99.

Don Martin: Three Decades of His Greatest Works, foreword by Nick Meglin. Martin gathers more than 200 cartoons from his days as Mad magazine’s “maddest artist.” There’s an abundance of color work, along with a selection of his posters and portraits. Running Press, $30.


Joe Eula: Master of Twentieth-Century Fashion Illustration, introduction by Cathy Horyn, image curation by Melisa Gosnell and Dagon James. This book is an odyssey in sketches by the legendary fashion illustrator Joe Eula. He was there for Yves Saint Laurent’s first Dior show in 1958 and, over five decades, also worked as a costume designer, stage director and creative director at Halston. Quotes culled from interviews are included. Harper Design, $85.

Study of Pose, by Steven Sebring and Coco Rocha. Rocha, a dancer-turned-supermodel, is known as the “Queen of Pose” in fashion. Here she strikes 1,000 of them for the photographer, filmmaker and digital innovator Sebring. Each page is one numbered black-and-white photo showing Rocha in a simple dancer’s leotard and tights. And she did it inside Sebring’s famous “Rig,” an igloo-like contraption fitted with 100 cameras that shot her from numerous perspectives, all of which will be included in a companion app. Harper Design, $60.

Cartier in the 20th Century, by Margaret Young-Sánchez, Pierre Rainero, Stefano Papi, Janet Zapata, Martin Chapman and Michael Hall. A glamorous and droolworthy 272-page history organized by theme in text and photos, with archival shots of Elizabeth Taylor and various royalty. In a slip box from The Vendome Press, in association with the Denver Art Museum, $75.


Vivian Maier: A Photographer Found, by John Maloof and Marvin Heiferman. The authors present more than 235 full-color and black-and-white images shot by the mysterious nanny photographer who is also the subject of a documentary film, Finding Vivian Maier. Maier’s street and travel photography was discovered and her life reconstructed through interviews and the 150,000 images she had saved. Harper Design, $80.

Camera Crazy, by Christopher D. Salyers and Buzz Poole. The cutesy history and specs of toy and novelty cameras, a term that generally spans simple plastic box cameras with fixed focus, limited aperture settings and a single shutter speed. Prestel, $29.95.


Rainforest, text by Lewis Blackwell. From aerial to macro, leading nature photographers — new work by Tim Flack included — bring the rainforest alive from Peru to Borneo. With attitude. “Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal,” the book opens. Abrams, $60.

The Gardener’s Garden, introduction by garden designer Madison Cox. In 480 pages, more than 250 private and public gardens around the world are covered. Each is shown in full color from several angles with detailed text covering their history and plantings. Organized geographically for gardens on five continents and 45 countries, from a 15th-century specimen in Japan to Versailles. Phaidon, $79.95.

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