Arming your mind
Morgan Davison makes her choices for
some in-depth fashion reading
A. Lassig: New Zealand Fashion Design.
This is an exceptional book on fashion, and
can keep one’s attention for hours turning through the pages, looking
and reading about the rich culture of New Zealand fashion
N. Garcia: Nina Garcias Look Book:
What to Wear for Every Occasion. Retail $23·99, purchase
via Amazon at $16·31 / £10·99
It might be a common question to hear any
woman concerned with her appearance ask, ‘I don’t know what to wear,’
‘Do I look good in this?’ or ‘Is it appropriate?’ We now have the
answers to these questions in Garcia’s book
R. Suqi: American Designers at Home.
Retail $65, purchase
via Amazon at $40·95 / £34
Many designers have had help or have been trained
in either interior design or architecture. There are interesting
anecdotes to go with each designer, such as how long it had taken
to renovate their homes. Vanessa Noel took ﬁrst place with seven
New Zealand fashion on the move
A sense of pride is what this book gives you. New Zealand sits
at the edge of the world geographically, but not in fashion, as
Angela Lassig’s 532 pp. New Zealand Fashion Design showcases
the country’s fast-moving and creative design landscape from the
last three decades. Lassig was Senior Curator, History, at the Museum
of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and recently moved to Auckland
with her husband (see
Lucire interview). She is currently pursuing her master’s,
specializing in fashion and textiles, and has put together a collection
of New Zealand designers from the point of view of a curator, and
not a journalist. Twenty-five New Zealanders have been profiled,
from Marilyn Sainty and Zambesi to World and Karen Walker, with
over five hundred superb colour catwalk and editorial photographs.
There is a wide breadth of information. Designers were
interviewed by Lassig, who read over their profiles many times,
reflecting on their careers and lives to make it as accurate as
possible. What makes this book unique are the garments photographed
in the designer’s workshops, serving as a visual timeline of that
designer’s diverse career. Garments, advertisements, invitations,
fashion editorials and other ephemera from the designers’ archives
helped represent their collections and significant moments in their
careers. The book gives a detailed chronological and descriptive
narrative on the Kiwi fashion design history.
This is an exceptional book on fashion, and can keep
one’s attention for hours turning through the pages, looking and
reading about the rich culture of New Zealand fashion. Each designer
is profiled with their backgrounds, inspiration, work ethics and
philosophy, giving you a peephole into the designer’s world and
a behind-the-scenes look into the struggles they overcame.
This piece of art won’t gather dust on your bookshelf
or coffee-table as any aspiring designer, fashion lover or collector
won’t be able to keep their hands off it.
Do you want to stand out?
As goes the trend for Hollywood, we first see people appear in
one discipline, and then, suddenly, they are in another. Whether
you are an aspiring designer, fashion guru or simply watch Project
Runway for the entertainment, we have all heard of it and watched
it. As one of the judges, Nina Garcia is a fashion journalist and
critic who has held posts at Elle and is currently at Marie
Claire. She knows what’s in and what is a fashion disaster.
Her 2010 release of Nina
Garcia’s Look Book: What to Wear for Every Occasion
is the most recent in a line of books on fashion and style.
It might be a common question to hear any woman concerned
with her appearance ask, ‘I don’t know what to wear,’ ‘Do I look
good in this?’ or ‘Is it appropriate?’ We now have the answers to
these questions in Garcia’s book. This is a book for women of any
culture, style, age or shape, giving us successful and practical
Garcia has given advice on any important event in a
woman’s life, from job interviews, boyfriend break-ups and parent–teacher
meetings—anything you could think of. She writes in a style which
is easy to read; you can almost hear her voice coming off the page
to speak to you. As the reader, I could tell that she is really
passionate about women, what women wear and making women feel chic
and confident. She encourages you to use this book as a guide and
reference rather than a rule-book. Garcia is constantly reminding
the reader to make their own style individual and not fade into
the background. Even when you are heartbroken, her advice can turn
you into a heartbreaker.
Garcia goes beyond the assumptions you have about her
book on only offering advice on clothing. She goes the whole way,
wanting women to look their best at all points in their life. Pick
out the perfect bag, colour combinations, accessories and hairstyles:
she is concerned with the whole image and what that image tells
people about you.
After I read this book I started to notice what people
were trying to communicate by their clothing. What were they saying
about themselves? Who could they be? It made me more aware of what
people were trying to tell me subliminally through their clothes.
Whether you are a fashion student, fashion editor or
merely for someone who needs a little help every now and again,
this is for you. I would recommend it to any of my friends, even
my mother. It’s one of those books I would keep on my dresser next
to my wardrobe as a guide, serving as a reminder to think about
what I am wearing for today, and to look chic and individual.
Also look out for her new book The Style Strategy:
a Less Is More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart.
Where do they live?
Each season we see a different aspect of a designer. We see their
final product after they have rehashed ideas and squeezed all the
juice out of their inspirations. Have you ever wondered how they
live? Have you imagined what their houses look like? The coffee-table
release of American
Designers at Home gives us snapshots from the inside
of their homes. Put together by the Council of Fashion Designers
of America (CDFA), we can see where
our favourite fashion designers go home at night to relax and live
‘This is the ultimate voyeuristic journey,’ Rima Suqi,
the book’s author, told WWD, as we finally get a look into
their homes instead of the catwalk.
Suqi goes on to say that many designers have had help
or have been trained in either interior design or architecture.
There are interesting anecdotes to go with each designer, such as
how long it had taken to renovate their homes. Vanessa Noel took
first place with seven years.
The biggest discovery Suqi told WWD was Ben-Amun
designer Isaac Manevitz’s New Jersey pad. ‘He has a very significant
collection of Memphis furniture at his house, probably one of the
most significant ones in America.’ She was also quite taken by of
Ralph Rucci’s Upper East Side home. ‘Sometimes you will find that
for a man of a certain generation, the apartments have a similar
æsthetic,’ Suqi said. ‘They are perfectly tasteful but there
is a sameness and safety to them. But Ralph Rucci’s was not one
The CDFA has also released
other books similar to this one, such as their American
Fashion Cookbook and Geoffrey Beene: an American Fashion
Rebel. The CDFA said that it wanted
to the spectrum of talent and difference of creativity.