Christmas brought me a beautiful bunch of gorgeous books. I always ask for books because I have a running Amazon list of pricey, glossy tomes that I am happy to provide my husband or anyone else who is interested.
The most stunning and inspirational book is Italian Touch, by Donata Sartorio, with photos by Paolo Leone.
The author collaborated with Tod's, the Italian luxury brand known for its driving shoes and handbags, to produce a immaculate catalog of "men and women who dress informally, with a natural elegance, personal style, and sense of ease that are undeniably Italian [from the Introduction]."
I think I like it particularly because it is different from the usual fashion coffee-table book. The author strives to find "Italians who really have no need to 'appear,' insofar as they already 'are.'"
These are people who live nonchalantly, in both large cities and in small towns; people who focus on quality and solid traditions they've turned into guidelines for contemporary life; people familiar with that kind of well-educated luxury that makes all the difference; yet never flaunting it; people also who know how to take a break from it all, and can just relax, have fun, and joke around with friends.
While many of the people photographed are wearing Tod's, you shouldn't let that put you off; it's not a sales pitch. Unless of course you are driven to buy a pair of Tod's in hopes of achieving the tailored, well-patina'd aesthetic of the families we see in this book. Not that anyone would be that shallow.
The World in Vogue: People, Parties, Places, by Hamish Bowles and Alexandra Kotur
A companion to Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People, published in 2007. It's a stunning volume, and makes a nice addition to my "Slim Aarons Lifestyle" collection. My particular favorite entries were Truman Capote's 1966 Black & White ball and the nuptials of Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson. (If you'd like to read more about Capote's party, I recommend Deborah Davis's Party of the Century. And if you'd like to keep up with Dita, I recommend following her on Twitter!) Not as inspirational as Italian Touch, however; this book is really just eye candy for us, the bourgeois.
Resort Fashion: Style in Sun-Drenched Climates, by Caroline Rennolds Milbank
Not, perhaps the best book to pore through when the wind chills are negative outside, but Milbank really pulls together a variety of timeless "style in sun-drenched climates," spanning the last century from Lartigue to Sean Combs. Reminiscent of Slim Aaron's gorgeous jet-set collections, Resort Fashion is classic, alluring, and nicely exhaustive.