Chic Reads: Fashion in Fiction and NonFiction 2022

As we usher in the new season of autumn with its crisp, cool evenings, and the leaves turn into beautiful hues, we also welcome a new season in terms of our wardrobes and fashion.  

In keeping with the spirit of the season, here are some newish fashion themed fiction titles that have stories and/or characters set in the fashion industry.  You will also find  contemporary reads and memoirs of fashion designers that will give you glimpses into the highly creative and competitive world of the fashion industry, filled with outsize glamor, drama, and dynamic personalities. 

They should surely make for both chic reads and a stylish nightstand!

Fiction

By Her Own Design A Novel Of Ann Lowe, Fashion Designer To The Social Register by Piper Huguley

The incredible untold story of how Ann Lowe, a Black woman and granddaughter of slaves, rose above personal struggles and racial prejudice to design and create one of America’s most famous wedding dresses of all time for Jackie Kennedy.

The Cage : A Novel by Bonnie Kistler

Two women–co-workers at an international fashion conglomerate–enter an elevator to take them down from the thirtieth floor, but only one woman is alive when the doors open in the lobby.

The Chanel Sisters : A Novel by Judithe Little

Raised by pious nuns, Antoinette, the younger sister of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, escapes to Paris, where her shared effort to launch a fashion brand is challenged by discriminating conventions and the horrors of World War I.

#Fashionvictim : A Novel by Amina Akhtar

Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything. Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend. But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. 

The Last Collection : A Novel Of Elsa Schiaparelli And Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin

A widowed American teacher visiting 1938 Paris accepts an art job under influential designer Elsa Schiaparelli before being caught up in an intense rivalry between her employer and Coco Chanel.

The New Girl : A Novel by Harriet Walker

Glamorous Margot Jones is the fashion editor at glossy magazine Haute. Pregnant with her first child, Margot’s carefully curated life is the object of other women’s envy–who wouldn’t want her successful career, loving husband, beautiful house, and stylish wardrobe? Maggie, a freelance journalist, certainly knows she doesn’t measure up. But when she gets the temp job covering Margot’s maternity leave, Maggie seizes the chance to live a flashier life–even if it’s only for a few months. 

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

An haute couture dressmaker in 1939, Paris joins the Resistance during the occupation and uses her skills to infiltrate the Nazi elite, sewing for them and collecting secrets at their glamorous headquarters in the Hôtel Ritz.

Sisters Of The Resistance : A Novel Of Catherine Dior’s Paris Spy Network by Christine Wells

Set in the thick of the Paris Resistance movement during WWII, this exciting novel tells of the deep involvement of Catherine Dior, the sister of fashion designer Christian Dior, and two sisters who risked their lives to support her efforts.

Suspects : A Novel by Danielle Steel

Theodora Morgan is fashion royalty. Founder of a wildly popular online shopping service, she is one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, although she prefers to keep a low profile, especially over the last months. It was a year ago when the unthinkable struck her family, and her husband, industry mogul Matthieu Pasquier, and their son were kidnapped and held for ransom–a nightmare that ended in tragedy.

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle : A Novel

Three plucky women lift the spirits of homefront brides in wartime Britain, where clothes rationing leaves little opportunity for pomp or celebration-even at weddings-in this heartwarming novel based on true events.

Nonfiction (including Memoirs)

American Dreamer : My Life In Fashion & Business by Tommy Hilfiger

Few designers have stayed on top of changing trends the way Tommy Hilfiger has. Fewer still have left such an indelible mark on global culture. Since designing his first collection of “classics with a twist” three decades ago, Hilfiger has been synonymous with all-American style–but his destiny wasn’t always so clear. In this tale of grit and glamor, setbacks and comebacks, business and pop culture icon Hilfiger shares his extraordinary life story for the first time.

Anna : The Biography by Amy Odell

This definitive biography of the legendary fashion journalist and media mogul follows her journey from the trendy fashion scene of swinging 1960s London to becoming the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine.

Betsey: A Memoir by Betsey Johnson

A memoir by the internationally famous fashion designer and style icon features her candid memories of the fashion and downtown scene in the 60s and how she started her own business from the ground up after designing successfully for multiple other companies. It is richly illustrated with many of Betsey’s  landmark clothes, fashion sketches, and personal photos.

Brazen by Julia Haart

A riveting, inspiring memoir of one woman’s escape from an extremist religious sect and an extraordinary rise from housewife to shoe designer, to CEO and co-owner of the modeling agency Elite World Group. 

The Chiffon Trenches : A Memoir by André Leon Talley

Discover what truly happens behind the scenes in the world of high fashion in this detailed, storied memoir from style icon, bestselling author, and former Vogue creative director André Leon Talley. Talley’s engaging memoir tells the story of how he not only survived but thrived–despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry–to become one of the most legendary voices and faces in fashion.

Dapper Dan : Made in Harlem : A Memoir by Daniel R. Day

With his eponymous store on 125th Street in Harlem, Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the early 1980s, remixing classic luxury-brand logos into his own flamboyant designs. But before reinventing fashion, he was a hungry boy with holes in his shoes, a teen who daringly gambled drug dealers out of their money, a young man in a prison cell who found nourishment in books, and, finally, a designer who broke barriers to outfit a whos-who of music, sport, and crime world celebrities in looks that went on to define an era. 

Dress Code : Unlocking Fashion From The New Look To Millennial Pink by Véronique Hyland

A smart and incisive essay collection centered on the fashion industry–its history, its importance, why we wear what we wear, and why it matters–from Elle Magazine’s fashion features director.  Hyland examines thought-provoking questions such as: Why has the “French girl” persisted as our most undying archetype? What does “dressing for yourself” really mean for a woman? How should a female politician dress? Will gender-differentiated fashion go forever out of style? How has social media affected and warped our sense of self-presentation, and how are we styling ourselves expressly for it?

Dressing The Resistance : The Visual Language Of Protest Through History by Camille Benda

Explores how everyday people have harnessed the visual power of clothing, accessories and costume to spur social and cultural change. Throughout history, societies have used clothing to show acceptance and exclusion, convention and subversion, group belonging and rejection. In the same way, fashion, clothing, textiles and costume have served their own critical role in shaping protest movements throughout history. British Punks took a humble safety pin from the household sewing kit, punched it through an earlobe and headed out to face a bleak post-war world. And male farmers in India wore their wives’ saris while staging sit-ins on railroad tracks. 

Karl Lagerfeld : A Life In Fashion by Alfons Kaiser

Kaiser explores the many eras of Lagerfeld’s life: the youthful outsider in the north German flatlands; the urbane genius in Paris; the tireless draftsman; the enthusiastic photographer; the passionate book collector; and the disciplined Prussian workaholic.  Drawing from many previously untapped sources, this biography investigates the man behind the persona: the precocious boy who preferred to draw in the attic than play with his peers; the son who quarreled with his parents but never got away from them; Yves Saint Laurent’s competitor, whom he outshone in the end; the brother, uncle, friend; and finally the partner of Jacques de Bascher, the great love of his life.

Liking Myself Back : An Influencer’s Journey From Self-Doubt To Self-Acceptance by Jacey Duprie

With millions of followers and a thriving lifestyle brand, Damsel in Dior, Jacey Duprie is one of today’s top fashion influencers. Her beautiful Instagram photos capture a life of glamor, luxury and elegance. But Jacey’s life offline has been far from perfect. In this candid memoir, Jacey reveals that behind her gorgeously curated photos was a woman struggling with deep insecurities. She shares intimate details of a difficult childhood growing up in rural Texas with an alcoholic father and her own battles with PTSD and mental health. Through resilience, hard work and self-reflection, Jacey eventually triumphed to become the strong, empowered woman she is today.

Norma Kamali : I Am Invincible with Sarah Brown

In her first book, fashion legend Norma Kamali offers readers a stylish, inspiring, and heartfelt handbook for gliding boldly through each of life’s decades with purpose and power. Manifesto, memoir, and essential guide, its pages are informed by 50 years of Kamali’s twists, turns, triumphs, and failures experienced while finding the courage and conviction to race after her dreams and never look back. 

Putting On The Dog : The Animal Origins Of What We Wear by Melissa Kwasny

Kwasny explores the age-old relationship between humans and the animals that have provided us with our clothing: leather, wool, silk, feathers, pearls, and fur. From silkworms grown on plantations in Japan and mink farms off Denmark’s western coast to pearl beds in the Sea of Cortés, Kwasny offers firsthand accounts of traditions and manufacturing methods—aboriginal to modern—and descriptions of the marvel and miracle of the clothing itself. What emerges is a fresh look at the cultural history of fashion.

The Power of Plus: Inside Fashion’s Size-Inclusivity Revolution by Gianluca Russo

Plus-size fashionistas have been writing their own narrative for the past three decades, creating a market all on their own that is now worth more than $21 billion. The Power of Plus features interviews with trailblazers such as Tess Holliday, Emme Aronson, Gabi Gregg, and more as it follows the evolution of plus-size fashion from its start on small blogs to its current boom, examining the way this market has changed women’s relationships with their bodies and how plus-size fashion is integral to the future success of the industry.

This is Not a Fashion Story Taking Chances, Breaking Rules, and Being a Boss in the Big City by by Danielle Bernstein & Emily Siegel

This is the down and dirty tale of how a Long Island-born teenager became one of the most recognizable names in fashion. 

Magazines

A variety of fashion magazines are available to borrow on Libby

Courses

You can access a course Fashion Design 101 via our subscription database Universal Class

Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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