Sparked by the recent sighting of a black slipcased volume dedicated to the incomparable American designer Ralph Rucci, our collecting mania reawakened. A love of books and fashion has culminated in a weakness for sumptuous volumes dedicated to our favorite designers and beautiful style. So, for this Fashion Friday, in lieu of contemporary looks we share with you instead a few books focused on design and style.  We consider books dedicated to the work of a particular designer the equivalent of owning a designer’s greatest hits. What could be better?’ 

Autobiography of a Fashion Designer: Ralph Rucci, with photographs by Baldomero Fernandez, showcases Rucci’s artistry and attention to detail, his use of exquisite fabrics—crocodile, silk, cashmere, crepe. An artist and couturier, Rucci is a perfectionist whose work has been the subject of a number of museum shows; the book rewards the careful viewer with gorgeous images of Rucci’s peerless designs. We think it’s an instant collector’s item.

  Fans of Yves Saint Laurent will relish Yves Saint Laurent and Fashion Photography, a tiny book with a collection of the late master’s classics—a tour through the fashions of women of a certain age—from elegant pantsuits, including the tuxedo, to the bold color for daywear that characterized YSL in the 80s and 90s.  Images in this book are by the giants of fashion photography—Avedon, Weber, Elgort, Horst, Penn, among many others—and the late novelist Marguerite Duras (The Lover, The North China Lover, etc.) contributed the Introduction. A book with an unforgettable cover image, an immense pink satin bow spread over the tanned back of a model in a black pencil sheath, announces the sophistication and elegance that await inside. Vanessa Friedman, fashion columnist for The Financial Times, whose blog, Material World, can be found at, wrote, with Armando Chitolina and Alessandra Arezzi Boza, a book on Italian designer Emilio Pucci, whose storied boutique on Capri catered to internationally recognized fashionable women for decades. Each copy of the limited edition book—the run was limited to 10,000 copies–is covered in Pucci fabric, the dazzling array of brights and geometrics outlined in black and white. Pucci designs, which suggest an Italian version of Pop Art, are unmistakable, appearing on dresses, jewelry, undergarments, and more.  Here are Pucci’s designs, the family villa, and numerous examples of the colorful fabrics.
Thinking about things pink, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Daniele Tamagni’s book on male style, Gentlemen of Bacongo. With a preface by whimsical UK designer Paul Smith the book explores the elegance of the Sapeurs of Bacongo, a collection of gentlemen in global cities whose devotion to sartorial elegance is boundless, whose passion for beautiful things transcends their surroundings. “Sapeurs”— short version of Society for the Advancement of People of Elegance—showcases men in fruit-flavored suits, many with matching hats and shoes, and affords an entirely masculine view of pastel colors. I promise you’ll never look at hot pink in the same way after seeing this book.  
Excellent sources for books on fashion: The bookstore at the Metropolitan Museum in New York has an excellent collection of books devoted to fashion designers, as does and For rarer, older volumes, try    






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  • Women’s Voices for Change shares ‘Gentlemen Of Bacongo’ by Daniele Tamagni — ** TROLLEY NEWS ** May 24, 2012 at 8:49 am

    […] ‘Fashion Friday: Gorgeous Images, Peerless Designs’ celebrates the hot pink vibrance of the ‘Sapeurs’ – “the elegant and immaculately dressed dandies from the heart of the Congo” – the subject of Daniele Tamagni’s book ‘Gentlemen Of Bacongo’. […]

  • patricia yarberry allen May 18, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Great review. These are books that no sane person would buy as an e-book! The covers are glorious. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Ralph Rucci book. Thanks for the introduction to these books.

    Dr. Pat