Summer books of 2019: Style

Grady, Kitty. Financial Times

Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines, by Vince Aletti, Phaidon, RRP£75 


Aletti, a collector of magazines since 1965, has turned his archive into a comprehensive study of the fashion images that have defined the past century: Edward Steichen’s surprisingly racy work for Vogue in the 1920s; Corinne Day’s 1990 shoot that catapulted Kate Moss into the limelight and Steven Meisel’s work for Vogue Italia’s 2008 “Black Issue”. While many of the images are familiar, it is the accompanying reminder of their context that makes the book so special. 


Black is Beautiful, by Kwame Brathwaite, Aperture, RRP£30/$40 


One evening in 1962, a parade of black women from the newly formed Grandassa Models took to a stage in Harlem, wearing their hair in afros and clothes made from traditional African fabrics. The event was called Naturally ’62, its slogan: “Black is Beautiful”. Grandassa was an initiative of the African Jazz-Art Society and Studios, inspired by Marcus Garvey’s directive for black Americans to proudly display their racial heritage rather than assimilate to white norms. The period was immortalised in Brathwaite’s photographs and Black is Beautiful is the first monograph devoted to his work. 


Legendary Artists and the Clothes They Wore, by Terry Newman, HarperCollins, RRP£25 


In Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore, Newman dissected the sartorial codes of writers such as Samuel Beckett and Joan Didion. Here she profiles the style of more than 40 artists, from Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman and Vanessa Beecroft to Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne. Newman proves that clothes are a revealing lens through which to view the artist. 


More than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say), by Elaine Welteroth, Viking Press, RRP£20 


When Welteroth was appointed editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue in 2017, she became the youngest and only second person of African-American heritage to hold such a position in Condé Nast’s history. She tells her story of growing up as a mixed-race girl in 1990s America, when magazines were full of “smiling white ladies”, through to her vision for an inclusive platform to galvanise young girls in the digital era. 

June 21, 2019
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