Pret-a-Reporter

10 Gorgeous Coffee-Table Books to Own Now

Go on, cozy up and flip the page.

Unless you're in an aggressive book club, you may still be digesting last year's crowd-pleasers, such as Goldfinch and Wild. Or perhaps you've surpassed Biblio 101 and are poring over the latest buzzy novel, All the Light We Cannot See (highly recommended) or Marilynne Robinson's recently released coup, Lila. Surely, a fictional acumen is crucial, but how about we take a minute to exalt the coffee-table book as a riveting art form not shackled to its status-symbol décor stereotype? 

These hardbound beauties exist strictly for imaginative pleasure — no keeping up with the literary Joneses necessary. And forget laboring over translating words into a mental projection of a world when you can enter it upon the first leaf-through. They are infinite sources of inspiration for generations, continual cocktail-party fodder, and, if enriching enough, the oft-underused books can even spark future dreams.

A few standouts below may just do that for the fashion pack; some are new for 2014, others, oldies but timeless goodies. You may want to arm yourself with a blanket and toddy; you probably won't be going anywhere for a hot minute.

W: Stories by Stefano Tonchi, $47 at amazon.com.

Compiling 10 dazzling and otherworldly editorials with previously unseen outtakes, this newcomer also boasts a code to watch short films by its shutterbugs, including Steven Meisel and Tim Walker.

 

Seventies Glamour by David Wills, $31 at amazon.com.

A provocative gaze at the wild decade, in film stills, runway shots and, of course, on the disco dance floor. David Bowie and Diane von Furstenberg included.

 

The Rolling Stones by Reuel Golden, $5,000 at Taschen.

This pricey "Sumo" sized hardcover is for hardcore fans of the rogue band that revolutionized rock (and the behaviors of rockers). Copies one through 450 include a signed original print and the OG badboys granted access to their own pictorial archives. If your bank account isn't rolling in the Benjamins, you may still just want to visit this major volume at Taschen.

 

The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Setiz, $40 at Urban Outfitters.

If you've ever been intrigued by the whimsical vision of this innovator, you need to own this homage to modern American cinema. It's filled with images of Anderson's devil's-in-the-details fantasy lands, never-before-seen storyboards, and even makeup inspiration — aka any fan's ecstasy.

 

Gypset TravelGypset Living and Gypset Style (set) by Julia Chaplin, $135 at net-a-porter.com.

We all know by now that gypsy plus jet-settter equals "gypset," but the latest addition of Living tops off this trilogy brilliantly. Consider your wanderlust temporarily cured, but Kayak will undoubtedly be your next stop.

 

Avedon: Women by Joan Juliet Buck and Abigail Solomon-Godeau, $68 at amazon.com.

Clocking 60 years in the fashion-photography business, Richard Avedon could be considered the guru on capturing the glamour of a woman. Here, over 120 stunning images offer proof of his iconic status.

 

American Fashion Designers at Home by Rima Suqi, $80 at amazon.com

From Jenna Lyons'  polished Park Slope home to Ralph Lauren's Native American-inspired Colorado ranch, this album is interior prose.

 

 

Conde Nast Traveler: 25 Years of Photographs by Luc Sante, $63 at amazon.com.

The first and last images in this behemoth are yellow-drenched visions of the Great Pyramid by Bert Stern, and in between you'll find everything from Helmut Newton's view of Sunday Funday in Miami to David Dodd's depiction of African children on the shores of Mozambique. All include photographer's, editor's and historic notes to accompany the snaps.

 

 

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel by Lisa Vreeland, $35 at amazon.com.

This volume on the "High Priestess of Fashion," known for her left-of-center attitude and lavish approach to editorial, will leave you aching for a bygone era in publishing.

 

Los Angeles: Portrait of a City by David L. Ulin, Jim Heimann and Kevin Starr, $42 at amazon.com.

If you don't live in the City of Angels, you may be packing your bags after grazing through this rich pictorial history of a diverse metropolis. If you do live here, prepare to enthusiastically learn about the place you call home

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