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What defines a stunning photo? Is it gorgeous architecture, seductive fashion editorials or a compelling celebrity portrait?
The latest crop of coffee table books strives to answer those questions, offering up a wealth of exceptional images in a wide variety of genres. From never-before-seen vintage photos of Frank Sinatra to lust-worthy interior design and architecture showcases and dazzling images of coveted gemstones, some of the best coffee table books on fashion, design and photography offer irresistible choices for every taste and budget. Here’s a look at 10 of newest titles worth buying.
The Stahl House: Case Study House #22, The Making of Modernist Icon by Bruce Stahl, Shari Stahl Gronwald and Kim Cross (Chronicle Chroma)
If you’ve ever admired the Stahl House, the 1960 Hollywood Hills home envisioned by Buck and Carlotta Stahl and realized by architect Pierre Koenig, this book offers never-before-seen photos and details provided by the Stahls’ adult children about this icon of mid-century modern design. The Stahl House also explores how the home gained its own fame as a backdrop for fashion campaigns and celebrity portraiture, as well as films that include Galaxy Quest and Corrina, Corrina.
Tom Ford 001 & 002 Deluxe by Tom Ford (Rizzoli)
In November, designer and director Tom Ford released 002, the follow-up to his 2004 memoir, in which he discusses the second chapter of his life and milestone events that included fatherhood and launching his eponymous women’s label. Now the two tomes have been combined in one deluxe set in a chic slipcase. Details include a Tom Ford signed bookplate.
Peter Marino: The Architecture of Chanel by Peter Marino (Phaidon)
He’s been designing Chanel boutiques for 25 years, and now Peter Marino is celebrating his longtime collaboration with the iconic French label with this expansive look at their partnership. Marino, the New York-based architect and designer who’s also crafted splashy spaces for Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Dior, shares a behind-the-scenes look at the details that went into Chanel boutiques around the globe, from Tokyo to New York, Osaka to Chicago and points beyond (he’s currently at work on the redesign of the brand’s Rodeo Drive boutique).
Yachts: The Impossible Collection by Miriam Cain (Assouline)
Fans of the posh nautical lifestyle enjoyed by celebrities and the mega-rich will enjoy this painstakingly detailed look at the history of yachting, from the racing vessels and elegant ships of the early 1900s to the high-tech models currently dominating the industry. As part of Assouline’s “Impossible Collection” series, this pricey book isn’t only comprehensive, it’s also teeming with gorgeous photography.
Santa Fe Modern: Contemporary Design in the High Desert by Helen Thompson and Casey Dunn (The Monacelli Press)
As modernism roundly dominates current architecture and interior trends, Santa Fe Modern explores how some of the best examples of this design theme can be found in the American Southwest. While many of the spectacular homes featured in the book could reside almost anywhere in the world, Santa Fe Modern offers a compelling look at why the marriage of home design and its surrounding environment is so vital.
Frank Sinatra Has a Cold by Gay Talese and Phil Stern (Taschen)
In 1965, Gay Talese wrote for Esquire what’s still considered to be the ultimate celebrity profile, the result of a scheduled interview with Frank Sinatra that never happened because the legendary entertainer wasn’t feeling well. Almost 60 years later, Talese’s celebrated story has been transformed into a book with this treatment by Taschen, which includes Talese’s notes and manuscript pages and considerable photography of Sinatra by Phil Stern, who captured images of Ol’ Blue Eyes over four decades.
Sapphire: A Celebration of Color by Joanna Hardy (Thames & Hudson)
Jewelry fans know British-born Joanna Hardy as one of the world’s foremost gemology experts, and this book completes her trilogy of the “big three” gemstones: 2014’s Emerald, 2017’s Ruby, and now Sapphire, which explores the fascination throughout history with these captivating blue gems. Some of the world’s most famous examples of the stone are showcased, including the Bulgari necklace featuring a 52.72-carat sugarloaf cabochon sapphire, which Richard Burton gifted to Elizabeth Taylor for her 40th birthday in 1972.
Vanity Project: A Tale of Fashion and Celebrity Styled by Dave Thomas (Unicorn Publishing Group)
Lionel Richie and John Legend wrote the introduction and afterword of this retrospective that showcases the work of the London-born Thomas, a pioneer in the world of celebrity styling. Thomas’ three decades as a stylist included work for everyone from Boy George (who also conducted interviews for the book) to Britney Spears, Sting and the Spice Girls. Proceeds from the book benefit The Prince’s Trust, a charity that assists young people who are struggling to get their lives on track; Thomas was a recipient of a grant from The Prince’s Trust in his early years and Prince Charles asked him to write the book.
The Men’s Fashion Book by Phaidon Editors and Jacob Gallagher (Phaidon)
This A-to-Z compendium of all things menswear is a must for fashion libraries, documenting more than 200 years of the history of men’s style, from tailors and milliners to designers including Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren and fashion influencers from Elvis Presley to A$AP Rocky.
Helmut Newton. Legacy by Matthias Harder and Philippe Garner (Taschen)
Provocative, seductive, elegant and voyeuristic: Helmut Newton’s photography continues to fascinate precisely because he broke rules and challenged boundaries, among the reasons his editorial fashion images for Vogue and Elle in the 1990s are considered iconic examples of the genre. Taschen compiled the 424-page Helmut Newton. Legacy as a companion piece to a Berlin retrospective that’s on exhibit through May 2022, and this look at the depth and breadth of his work includes celebrity portraiture of Charlotte Rampling, Catherine Deneuve and other A-list stars.
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