Dress your shelf: the five best new books about fashion
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Her Dior: Maria Grazia Chiuri’s New Voice
Maria Grazia Chiuri revealed her vision for Dior when she put Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s words “We should all be feminists” on a T-shirt in her first collection for the house in 2016. And a T-shirt-meets‑placard version of the same look is pictured on the cover of her debut book as Dior’s creative director. Her Dior: Maria Grazia Chiuri’s New Voice gathers photos from 33 female photographers who have collaborated with Chiuri at the house, alongside quotes and thoughts from women including Judy Chicago and Linda Nochlin.
The images celebrate female strength in all its forms. Arianna Lago shows a woman steadfast in a delicate lace dress, while Deborah Ory and Ken Browar capture a ballerina wearing tulle embroidery in a battement relevé. In one of New York-based photographer Alique’s monochrome portraits, model and activist Adwoa Aboah, in a knitted tank, steadily meets the camera’s gaze, while Nan Goldin captures Okay Kaya dressed to perfection in a red tulle gown. (Rizzoli, $95) Tara Tabbara
How to Dance the Waltz
When do we stop being children and become adults? In a new photography book, How To Dance The Waltz, Israeli artist Michal Chelbin explores the rites of passage that typically mark the transition into adulthood, as well as the clothes, costumes and uniforms that accompany them. Shot at military boarding schools, matador training academies and at school proms, the images capture wide-eyed boys looking out from under military caps, and teenagers squeezed into skin-tight, jewel-coloured costumes, each meeting the camera’s gaze. “Men are still taught to be men, to be warriors, and the women are taught to know how to dance a waltz,” Chelbin observes of her subjects. “They are supposed to play this role. But they are, in the end, just kids.” (Damiani, £50) Baya Simons
Naty Abascal: The Eternal Muse Inspiring Fashion Designers
Spanish model Naty Abascal’s big break came in 1964, when photographer Richard Avedon spotted her at an exhibition in New York. The following year she graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and went on to become a muse to fashion designers including Valentino Garavani, who described her as “an inextinguishable flame”, and photographers such as Lord Snowdon, Peter Beard and Norman Parkinson. In November 2019, 82 of Abascal’s most iconic haute-couture looks were exhibited at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City – and, somewhat belatedly, this new book marks that show, bringing together photographs of Abascal in a selection of designs by the likes of Cristóbal Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta, Elie Saab and Yves Saint Laurent, with anecdotes and insights from admirers including Christian Lacroix, Suzy Menkes and Mario Testino. (Rizzoli, $50) Tara Tabbara
Stazione Termini, Lookbook 2009-2021
Photographer Niccolò Berretta spent some 12 years observing and photographing commuters at Rome’s Stazione Termini, the city’s main transport hub, training his lens on the everyday attire of travellers. More than 500 of these photographs are gathered together in Berretta’s impressive new book. Alongside essays from writer and filmmaker Federici Lodoli and artist-filmmaker Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli is a text by Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of Valentino, who praises Berretta’s “raw aesthetic, vivid narrative and love for nonchalance”. (Drago, €35) Tara Tabbara
Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960
Documenting nearly two centuries of women’s “sporting fashion” – from sports retailer Spalding’s 1880s wood and leather roller skates to Coco Chanel’s 1930s floral couture for springtime promenades – this book is a richly illustrated exploration of the subject. An introduction by Serena Williams, whose fashion-forward approach to sportswear includes wearing an asymmetrical catsuit in the Australian Open and a tutu at the 2018 US Open, takes a story that begins with the technical designs glamorised by the 19th century’s first professional sportswomen right up to the 1960s. (Prestel, £45) Tara Tabbara
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