How to spend it on… books

Five sumptuous tomes of inspiring design and photography

Chanel: The Impossible Collection by Alexander Fury (€820, Assouline)
Chanel: The Impossible Collection by Alexander Fury (€820, Assouline)

Chanel: The Impossible Collection by Alexander Fury (€820, Assouline)

This a book of two halves, Chanel under Coco, and Chanel under Karl Lagerfeld, who held the reins for 36 years. And it’s an exhilarating romp through the greatest hits of one of the most evocative Parisian brands. Archive pieces from museums and private collections, gorgeous images by photographers including Edward Steichen, Richard Avedon and Peter Lindbergh, as well as illustrations and portraits, are curated and deftly drawn together by fashion journalist and Financial Timesmenswear critic Alexander Fury. It’s finished with hand-tipped colour plates and a linen clamshell box.

Tim Walker: Shoot for the Moon Collector’s Edition (£2,500, Thames & Hudson)
Tim Walker: Shoot for the Moon Collector’s Edition (£2,500, Thames & Hudson)

Tim Walker: Shoot for the Moon Collector’s Edition (£2,500, Thames & Hudson)

Topping the visually sumptuous frenzy of magic realism photographer Tim Walker’s V&A show and accompanying book, and recently opened selling exhibition (the first for Walker) at Chelsea’s Michael Hoppen Gallery, this colour-saturated monograph is available as a collector’s edition limited to 50 copies. Supercharged with pages of coloured gels, it is also accompanied by a sublime signed archival print of Karen Elson and Atlas the Lion. The book contains hundreds of images, many not on show at the V&A, including surrealist shots from his Alice in Wonderland series for the 2018 Pirelli calendar, featuring an all-black cast of starry names from Naomi Campbell to Whoopi Goldberg. 

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Fabien Baron Works: 1983-2019 (£150, Phaidon)

Billed as part design manual, part manifesto, part eye‑popping skip through a catalogue of beautiful design, this is the first career retrospective of the acclaimed creative director, whose roll-call of reinventions and creations includes Vogue Italia with Franca Sozzani, Liz Tilberis’s Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Paris under Carine Roitfeld, Interview magazine – his first cover star of which, Kate Moss, pens a foreword to this tome – as well as books including Madonna’s headline-grabbing 1992 Sex, and countless campaigns for brands such as Burberry, Givenchy, YSL and Calvin Klein, where he was creative director for 20 years.

Fabien Baron Works: 1983-2019 (£150, Phaidon)
Fabien Baron Works: 1983-2019 (£150, Phaidon)

Kara Walker: Hyundai Commission (£19.99, Tate Publishing)

New York-based artist Kara Walker’s 13m-high fountain, Fons Americanus, a comment on suppressed histories running between continents and standing tall in Tate Modern until April next year, is the springboard for this book. The narrative of the sculpture’s creation takes in early sketches and archival images of the work in progress, as well as historical, literary and cultural sources that inspired the piece. An essay by Zadie Smith, “What do we want history to do to us?”, delves into Walker’s career and the themes of her artworks, from her “newly famous – and soon to be notorious” paper cutouts, to more recent sculptures and shadow puppets.

Kara Walker: Hyundai Commission (£19.99, Tate Publishing)
Kara Walker: Hyundai Commission (£19.99, Tate Publishing)

John Pawson: Anatomy of Minimum by Alison Morris (£49.95, Phaidon)

The latest in this Phaidon series explores the creative principles of the architectural designer John Pawson. It focuses on the details that underpin his masterful minimalist aesthetic – from windows to doors, light to proportion. Domestic projects, including his own home, come under the spotlight, as does London’s Design Museum – a temple to minimalist chic.

John Pawson: Anatomy of Minimum by Alison Morris (£49.95, Phaidon)
John Pawson: Anatomy of Minimum by Alison Morris (£49.95, Phaidon)

Read about an extraordinary book celebrating the late, great Peter Lindbergh.

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