Cecil Beaton
Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1990, 1954, English
Nonfiction, Fashion Design
On 1 book list
Claire Wilcox

Beaton really is essential reading and his descriptions of designers in their heyday are thrilling. Writing of Chanel: “It was always impossible to guess Chanel’s age. She was dark and sunburned, with high cheekbones, an upturned nose with nostrils, as she said, ‘like tunnels,’ brilliant black eyes like buttons, and a gash for a mouth. Her hands were delicate, of a skin with a white sheen on it, and so strong that they could shoe a horse. She wore no red on her fingernails but reddened the tips of her toes, on the theory that feet were a dreary business and required every aid.” He also had the knack for summing up the elemental characteristic of a designer, calling Dior “the Watteau of dressmaking.”

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