Chilly Chic: Literary Style

January 2, 2010 • Magazine

Chilly Chic: Literary Style

Chilly Chic: Literary Style

Sun, 2000-01-02 09:00

Amanda Aldinger
If you’re anything like me, the sub-zero temperatures of winter make it difficult to summon the motivation to leave the house period, let alone in your most fashionable, stiletto-heeled glory. And in this economy, after a month-long holiday extravaganza, who has the funds to vacay in more temperate locales? Rather than stress about the dredges of winter weather, I prefer an indulgent hiatus – spoiling myself by catching up on the fashion-infused literature I don’t have time to read during busier months. Fashion and international culture from the comfort of my very own abode? That’s chilly chic at its very finest.
Take a peek at my winter booklist, and pick out some gems for yourself! I promise they won’t disappoint.
The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake
This non-fiction sensation chronicles the careers of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld during the rise of their couture houses in 1970s Paris, and was the catalyst for my love of fashion and obsession with Yves Saint Laurent. Detailing the trends set by these two iconic designers, as well as the unbelievable crowds in which they ran (Andy Warhol and Loulou de la Falaise, anyone?) this book provides extraordinary insider information about the world of fashion. Drake’s magnetic commentary will leave you unable to put this book down, and will satisfy any craving for exotic fashion.
Diane: A Signature Life by Diane von Furstenburg
Just barely into her 20s, Diane von Furstenburg created an empire with her iconic wrap dress. This tell-all autobiography details her extraordinary journey throughout the world of fashion, as well as the many private stories of her own life as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who was first married to a German prince. One of the cornerstones of the American ready-to-wear industry, von Furstenburg writes with searing authenticity, unabashedly revealing the brilliant and tortured woman behind the DVF brand. This autobiography is a must for any fashionista.
Influence by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
Although they may never rid themselves of the child star label, the influence these style-crazed twins have had on the fashion industry is undeniable. And it shows in this book – a collection of 22 interviews with influential fashion/design/photography icons like: Karl Lagerfeld, Diane von Furstenburg, Christian Louboutin, Lauren Hutton, Margherita Missoni, Terry Richardson, and Bob Colacello. Filled with beautiful photography, and poignant musings from some of fashion’s greatest stars, this mecca of inspiration is a wonderful read. 
The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo
Author Karen Karbo takes Coco Chanel’s unbelievable rags to ritches story, and intertwines it into themed chapters which convey life lessons, speaking of perserverence, determination, and Chanel’s incredible talent. Chanel’s life story is as timeless as her brand, and Karbo’s book puts an individualized twist on the iconic designer’s life and impact on the fashion industry. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to take whatever Chanel has to offer.
Gypset Style: Jet-set + Gypsy = Gypset by Julia Chaplin
I discovered Julia Chaplin’s Gypset style while blogging one day, and fell in love with her bohemian-chic photography and the general notion of a combined gypsy + jet-style approach to style. A perfect literary/coffee table pick, Chaplin explores the history of Bohemian style, both socially and culturally, traveling around the globe to capture the best of the best in their oh-so-fashionable glory. A perfectly exotic way to spend winter vacation, I can’t wait to immerse myself in Chaplin’s world of international flair.
Dior by Dior: The Autobiography by Christian Dior
The world of fashion is so sensationalized, it’s such a breath of fresh air to read about the mastermind behind the clothes. I just picked this up and am so excited to dig in to Dior’s life – especially because it’s in his own words. Opening his own couture house in 1947, only to die ten years later, Dior’s career – spurred by his “New Look” – was a whirlwind decade of success. To know fashion is to know its history, and M. Dior is, without a doubt, one of the industry’s most prolific players.  
Pop open a bottle of wine and settle in for some fashionable lit. Winter will fly by and you’ll be ringing in spring as the chicest intellectual on the block.

1. The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake, $8.94
2. Diane: A Signature Life by Diane Von Furstenberg, $14.36
3. Influence by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen $23.10
4. The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo $13.57
5. Gypset Style: Jet Set + Gypsy = Gypset by Julia Chaplin $29.70
6. Dior by Dior by Christian Dior, $12.39

Image Layout: Alicia Lee

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