By Connie Furr Soloman & Jan Jewett
In 1986, Liberace told a reporter “I’m wearing something on stage that on one else in show business could afford to wear or would dare to wear. I’m in a class by myself. My costumes are works of art. Liberace is one of a kind.” There’s nobody who would argue with this quote, especially the closing comment.
Liberace’s first performance ensemble was a tuxedo with tails he purchased in the 1940’s for a then budget busting $27.50. As the story unfolds, he eventually ends up performing in pieces that cost in excess of 1,000 times his first costume & were made of layers of silk, satin ruffles, & encrusted from head to toe in Swarovski Crystal rhinestones, fourteen carat gold & diamond encrusted buttons, & some with upwards of 4,000 lightbulbs, weighing over 25 pounds. His every garment was, so over the top, that literally his every appearance was a showstopper.
Costume designers Connie Furr Soloman & Jan Jewett chronicle the man & the clothes in a decade by decade format that includes over 260 photos of over 50 of Liberace’s most famous garments, as well as 50 photos of the man himself. To accomplish this fete, the authors interviewed a variety of Liberace’s most close confidants, including his stage manager, Ray Arnett, as well as two of his most noteworthy designers, Jim Lapidus & Anna Nateece. They each shared their insights & anecdotes to piece together a volume as storied as the legend himself.
With a forward by Michael Travis, Liberace’s principle designer, this volume is sure to ignite hours of conversation & comments from anyone who enters your home to find it on the coffee table.
Publisher: Harper Design
$29.99, hardcover, 224 pages
Irish fashion designer & now author, Jackie Mallon arrives on these shores after an 8-year stint designing in Milan. A graduate of London’s Central St. Martins, she says she’s spent her professional life thus far gathering stories for the novel she didn’t know she was going to write. That unplanned novel is now in print & available from Betimes Books.
The novel begins on a farm where the seven-year-old Kat finds freedom & joy following her father “Da” around the family’s Irish farm & even joining him on his antique Massey-Fergusen tractor as he works the land & tends to the animals. All along, her mum is encouraging her to get involved in her pastime, sewing, which Kat swears off of for life after seeing her father get injured attempting to repair one of her mum’s machines.
However, at 18, Kat finds her creative urges leading her beyond the farm & she finds happiness in London at Central St. Martins where she finds a cast of characters in her circle that only fashion schools could ever corral! Over the balance of the pages, you’ll follow Kat as she graduates school, encounters challenged design ideals, a number of vices, flees to Milan, landing in a high-fashion Italian design house, but not before a whirlwind sortie in France. She eventually ends up finding her life happiness in an unlikely place; far from the runways she had spent her professional life conquering.
“Silk For The Feed Dogs” is a fast read & a true page-turner as it is simultaneously “inside”, yet escapist to the fashionista in us all…
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Publisher: Betimes Books
$14.99, softcover, 384 pages
Ultimate watch emporium, Tourneau, has released their first book aptly titled “The Watch Book” which compiles the insights of dozens of the world’s most noteworthy watch enthusiasts, experts, journalists, bloggers, designers, & historians.
“The Watch Book reflects [our] collective watch knowledge & expertise that we look forward to sharing with our customers every day,” says Tourneau CEO Ira Melnitsky. “It pays homage to the storied history of the timepiece, but also takes a look into the exciting future of the industry that we’re all so proud to be a part of.”
While the list of contributors is lengthy, Anders Modig, a writer & creative director for several Swiss watch brands, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the book. In his duties, he was tasked with the lucky challenge of tailoring the work of contributors from Sotheby’s, Financial Times, hodinkee.com, Revolution USA, Vanity Fair On Time, & JCK Magazine. The book also doesn’t just chronicle looks from the past, but also discusses at length the future of the genre. Watch enthusiasts will enjoy the behind the scenes look at many of the most celebrated brands in the world.
$150.00, hardcover, 268 pages
The Design Museum has published a series of “Fifty Fashion Looks” books & just in time for our Holiday INprint listing they’ve put out two more. The first in the newly released duo, the 1980s starts the year by year fashion parade with the two prime-time soaps of “Dallas” & “Dynasty”. Sue Ellen Ewing & Crystal Carrington give way to Donna Karan & Grace Jones, before making way for the Prada Nylon Bag & Issey Miyake. A long pause will no doubt be made on page 83 for Diana, Princess of Wales before moving on to Madonna, Miami Vice, The Brat Pack & Boy George, finally ending up with fashion cult favorite Romeo Gigli. Literally, every page is more memorable than the next & the only bad part of the mini-volume is that it isn’t entitled “100 Fashion Looks” as 50 doesn’t feel like enough.
Paula Reed is the Global Style Director for the chain of British fashion emporiums Harvey Nichols. Her prior titles included Style Director for Grazia magazine & columnist for the US edition of InStyle Magazine. She certainly is more than qualified to write such a volume as she literally has reported on the styles contained within on a first hand basis. Her other volumes include “Fifty Looks” editions for 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, & 1990s (profiled below). She currently resides in London.
Publisher: Octopus Books
$20.00, hardcover, 112 pages
There’s simply no better Holiday stocking stuffer or Holiday hostess gift than one of Paula Reed’s titles in her “Fifty Looks that Changed…” series. In her previous volumes covering every decade from the 1950s to this one, the 1990s, she’s covered every major fashion moment worth noting. In the 1990s, chances are, you won’t only just know of the events, you’ll remember them each first hand.
Jimmy Choo, Prada, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marc Jacobs, Kate Moss, Grunge, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, TopShop, Julien MacDonald, Modern Preppy, Herve Leger & his bandage dress, & Versace are several of the more memorable mentions. Even a haircut got a chapter when Reed covers Jennifer Anniston’s “Rachel” haircut. Princess Diana got another nod (her first was in the 1980s edition), but this time in her post divorce letting loose phase when her true aesthetic was finally not palace suppressed, which speak volumes of the depth of her influence that she left an indelible mark on two full decades.
Buy both volumes as you’ll literally not put either volume down before you finish it & you’ll be left wanting more.
Publisher: Octopus Books
$20.00, hardcover, 112 pages