Arts + Culture

Stylish Reads

Two picture-perfect titles for your coffee table.

BY September 30, 2020

For Design Buffs

If you’re reading this column, we’re going to take a wild guess and say you probably like books. Maybe you even like showing them off. If so, you’ll appreciate Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books, which offers a virtual tour through some of the world’s most prestigious private libraries. Interior designer Nina Freudenberger, New Yorker writer Sadie Stein and Architectural Digest photographer Shade Degges scoured the globe in search of stunning bibliophile collections from people like author Larry McMurtry, fashion designer Phillip Lim and Paris’ Shakespeare and Company’s Sylvia Whitman. Beyond showcasing images with plenty of ideas for arranging your own stacks, the book features indie bookstores and interviews with subjects talking about their affinity for the written word, how they organize their shelves and why they collect.

For Fashion Photography Lovers  

Bill Cunningham: On the Street: Five Decades of Iconic Photography traces the career of a man who revolutionized fashion photography with his street style images that ran in his On the Street and Evening Hours columns for The New York Times. Cunningham claimed that he was “too shy, not aggressive enough.” But it was his stealthy demeanor that facilitated the magic in his work. The photographer  preferred to remain invisible, riding around on a bicycle and popping up at parties, snapping pictures of (often-unsuspecting) people in the city.  The who’s who of the stylish set in New York would “dress for Bill”—as Vogue editor Anna Wintour once said—eager to be captured in his columns.

Cunningham, who counted Wintour as a muse and started chronicling her style when she was a junior editor in London in the 1970s, was more intrigued by the clothing than the people wearing it. He had a knack for scoping trends before they hit the runways, which is why the book serves as much as an anthology of his work as it is a short history of modern fashion. 

Tiina Loite, one of his previous editors, took on the process of  curating the selections, which include images Cunningham took from the 1970s, before he worked with the NYT, until his passing in 2016. As in his effervescent columns, Loite arranged the photos thematically (in addition to chronologically). 

Beyond the visual eye, the beautifully bound book is peppered with essays by some of his greatest subjects and fans, including Wintour and NYT legends, such as fashion director Vanessa Friedman and culture critic Guy Trebay, who provide insight into the life and mind of one of our time’s most influential photographers.

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