The Books Every Fashion Lover Should Own

Who wore it better? Who made the best-dressed list? No other art form creates a worldwide debate quite like fashion.

Article by Jordan Turner

Photography by Cleo Vermij.

From the hallowed halls of Vogue to the runways of Alexander McQueen, these eight books will not only cure your fashion obsessions, they’re also all incredibly engaging reads.  Starting with the grand dame of luxurious threads and finishing with a fallen star, this book list is a deep dive into the establishments, designers, rule-breakers and modern creators of fashion as we know it.

D.V. by Diana Vreeland

No other book could start this list other than this unconventional memoir by the eccentric Diana Vreeland, who inspired the world as fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and editor-in-chief of Vogue. It’s a read that feels as if Vreeland herself is having an intimate conversation with you —engaging, direct and sprinkled with one-liners that linger in your mind long after you finish reading. (Da Capo Press)

Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington

“Grace” spans the quirky former American Vogue creative director-at-large’s childhood to the present; British Vogue to Wintour, Turlington to Madonna. Through her natural flair and wit, her sharp eye for talent and the personal moments with her beloved cats, we see that Coddington, pleasingly, is not who we might expect a fashion legend to be. (Random House)

The Chiffon Trenches, by André Leon Talley

Hearing about Talley’s considerable achievements in fashion, his time galavanting around Paris in his youth with Karl and Yves, and learning of the strings he pulled to help Galliano succeed is as fascinating as it sounds. The book lingers on those who have wronged Talley but it also holds us captive inside the enamouring world of high fashion. (HarperCollins)

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992, by Tina Brown

Tina Brown turned Vanity Fair from a magazine in deficit into a multimillion dollar asset for Condé Nast. These are her diary entries throughout her successful reign. It details her critical thinking, sharp tongue and gutsy personality, which she brought to the table as the only woman on an all-male board. A must for lovers of journalism, fashion and New York City. (Orion)

Glossy: The Inside Story of Vogue, by Nina-Sophia Miralles

An enthralling biography about the publishing powerhouse Vogue and all its entities. From stories of how the magazine’s staff met deadlines as bombs fell from the sky during World War II to creating international editions of the magazine and the rise of its best-known editor, Anna Wintour, this book opens the doors to a sometimes secretive establishment and questions what made it an enduring success. (Hachette Australia)

Vivienne Westwood, by Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly

The definitive biography of the woman who transformed British fashion and single-handedly created almost every trend to come out of men’s fashion in the UK from the ’70s. Westwood combined history, fashion, culture, politics, music, art and experience, and turned it into something wearable. If we didn’t have Vivienne Westwood, would we really ever have had a punk scene? (Pan Macmillan)

Dior by Dior, by Christian Dior

This is an autobiography of the house of Christian Dior, not the eponymous founder’s personal life. Dior details how his garments are built, the models that walk the runways, how the fashion shows come together and the exclusive couturier stories. It’s a dive into the designer’s processes that have not only created decade-defining collections, but have also ensured the brand’s ongoing success. (Bloomsbury)

Alexander McQueen: The Life & The Legacy, by Judith Watt

From his beginnings as a tailor on Savile Row to his gigantic designs that changed the industry, McQueen will always be known as a visionary of fashion. The author notes that his designs are biographical, and so with the chronological telling of the book we see the physical symbolism of his life in fashion. If only the tome was thicker, to explore every one of his designs to the final stitch. (Harper Design)