This was of one my favorite books in the 1980s, always on my bedside table. I found it in New York in a secondhand bookstore and it was an instant revelation. I knew nothing of American fashion designers in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. My only U.S. fashion reference had been costume designer Adrian!
My Fair Lady was a momentous film for me. All through my youth, I was fascinated by Beaton’s costumes, his drawings, his stage sets, and his photographs, of course. As a result, I was a self-styled Anglophile, in love with London.
This is the first book I ever bought. I purchased it with my pocket money when I was ten years old. The book (whose title translates as “100 Years of French History”) contains lots of old photographs and prints about art and French history.
This was my very first book on the history of dress. It dates back from the 1950s. I consulted, studied, and scrutinized it on a daily basis during the earlier part of my career. A fundamental text for me.
Jeanne d’Arc (1925) is the only book by the French surrealist author Delteil that has been translated into English. He wrote 33 books and worked on the script for Carl Dreyer’s famous film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927). I love everything Delteil wrote, because of the poetry of his prose, his way with words, and his unique use of language. His work inspired me when I discovered it in 1969, and has been a source of enchantment ever since.
Mauriès is my astrological twin, a scholarly wordsmith with whom I share a love of everything that’s ephemeral and fleeting. He is essential to me because he knows how to capture the nuances of how I feel. (The title of the book, not available in English, translates as "Vertigo.")
Jullian was a French illustrator, art historian, novelist, and dandy. My French teacher gave me this marvelous book (“Styles”) for my 15th birthday and it has been one of my very favorite publications ever since. Patrick Mauriès and I took the liberty of writing a sequel, titled Styles d’aujourd’hui (“Styles of Today").