10 Books That Are Essential To Your Fashion Education

There are lots of great books about fashion, but it may be hard to know which ones are worth your time. Check out these books and enjoy your winter reads.
10 Books That Are Essential To Your Fashion Education

While scrolling through Instagram might give you an insight into the most up-to-date trends, the best way to dive deeper into the rich history of fashion is through one of the many amazing books on the subject.

From rich biographies and histories to elaborate coffee table books, there are a lot of great books on the subject of fashion. But with so many substantial reads on the market, it’s hard to know which ones are absolutely crucial to your fashion knowledge.

To make things a bit easier, here are our top ten books that we believe are essential to your fashion education. The collection of these titles easily covers the basics of who’s who and what’s what in fashion.

Champagne Supernovas by Maureen Callahan

Fashion in the 90s was unlike any other era – it was pure fashion culture. Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen are the stars of this novel as author Maureen Callahan details how such icons remade fashion during a decade that lived by the phrase “anything goes.”

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

Learn how the unparalleled Diane von Furstenberg went from a globetrotting princess to single-handedly empowering women to change the way they dress. Not only does The Woman I Wanted to Be track DVF’s entire life story, but it also includes inspiring and insightful advice.

Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington

Grace Coddington’s renowned talent and passionate dedication to her work as creative director of Vogue has made her an international fashion icon. Her memoir provides a charming and witty, yet real glimpse into her world from her early career as a model to working with the likes of Anna Wintour today.

D.V. by Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland is a legend in the fashion world. As the editor of Harper’s Bazaar from 1936-1962, her biography weaves through dazzling dinner parties with Coco Chanel, conversations with Clark Gable and details Vreeland’s own perspective no just on fashion, but also on life.

Before there were fashion blogs, there were fashion books. And this book was ago-too for timeless fashion trends and style tips. Covering everything from weddings to travel wear, Christian Dior’s The Little Dictionary of Fashion was (and still remains) a must-read fashion book.

The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake

In The Beautiful Fall, author Alicia Drake unpacks the glamorous fashion world of 1970s Paris, highlighting one of its greatest designer rivalries: Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent. With incredible biographical detail, Drake chronicles the historic divide the two created in Paris fashion culture.

This is one of the newer books on this list, but it makes for a great addition to fashion education. Betty Halbreich spent over 40 years at Bergdorf Goodman as the personal shopper and has the stories to prove it. Her accounts are both hilarious yet charming depictions of retail fashion and her private life. 

Gods and Kings by Dana Thomas

Alexander McQueen and John Galliano commanded the fashion industry in the 90s and went on to lead two of Paris fashion’s most important houses – Givenchy and Dior, respectively. Full of salacious details, Gods and Kings traces how two of fashion’s anti-establishment sweethearts fell from grace with the extreme pressure of the industry.

The End of Fashion by Teri Agins

If you only read one book on this list, it should be this one. Although slightly dated (it was published in 2000), The End of Fashion offers an overview of the modern fashion machine and explores how fashion went from being an elitist industry to one that caters to the mass market, plus there are lots of juicy industry anecdotes nestled throughout its pages.

Shocking Life by Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli was known as the “queen of fashion” during her time and was even more popular than Coco Chanel at one point. Her fascinating autobiography details her rise from a rat-infested apartment in Rome, through the war years when she worked for the American Red Cross. The book also highlights her interactions with Salvador Dali and to her eventual role as the designer to the stars.


Do you know any other books necessary to your fashion education? Share in the comments!

Featured image: Coco’s Tea Party

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