As fellow aesthetes and design fans, we know that few things spark more joy than a colourful collection of serious coffee table books in a well curated home. Now that we’re all spending even more time indoors it’s time to add to our collections with some rare classics and stunning new editions. DDW explores the very best coffee table books for inspiration:
Swans: Legends of The Jet Society
From celebrated author, historian and journalist Nick Foulkes (luxury editor of British GQ and frequent contributor to Vanity Fair) comes a fascinating exploration of the women that shaped modern high society.
This colourful tome conjures images of exotic global destinations and golden beaches, clandestine rendezvous on opulent yachts, and star-studded parties in palatial mansions – taking a dreamlike lens to a time when the phrase ‘jet set’ captured the epitome of worldly glamour.
“The Swans of jet society had perfected the art of nonchalant elegance. They were the standard-bearers of fashion as not merely clothes but an active lifestyle choice.” the women in couture gowns and glittering jewels, the men in debonair tuxedos.
The people of the jet set were the last vestiges of a leisured and cultivated age, a world of taste and culture, elegance and beauty. ‘Swans: Legends of Jet Society‘ captures the spirit of this world, in which today’s technology was the stuff of science fiction, when foreign travel was the preserve of a privileged cosmopolitan few.
From bygone aristocracy to modern mega-wealthy moguls, this stunning volume regales with escapades of travel, money, sex, and adventure. These are the legends of the jet set–tales of glamour, excitement, and exclusivity.
Versailles: From Louis XIV to Jeff Koons
A new addition to the Assouline family, this collector’s book comes in two versions, the Standard and Special Editions (which includes complimentary white gloves for handling). Both take the reader on a journey through the most storied palace in the world, the glittering Château de Versailles. Recounting the most important historical, social, and cultural milestones of Versailles, beginning with the original proposal for a modest hunting lodge requested by Louis XIII in 1623, this volume encompasses the expansive property, from the palace and gardens to the Grand Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet.
From the first great constructions under Louis XIV, to its reimagining by Louis-Philippe in 1837 as a museum dedicated to all the glories of France, Versailles has truly seen many momentous occasions, including diplomatic summits, scientific advancements, and renowned visitors over the centuries, from Mozart, Benjamin Franklin and Queen Victoria to Fred Astaire and the Kennedys, not to mention exhibitions of today’s great artists, beginning with Jeff Koons in 2008.
Lavishly illustrated with archival images and beautiful photography, Versailles: From Louis XIV to Jeff Koons features insightful texts by Catherine Pégard, president of the Château de Versailles, with the collaboration of Mathieu da Vinha, scientific director of the Château de Versailles Research Center, revealing all the stories that have unfolded within this glorious monument.
Bals: Legendary Costume Balls of the Twentieth Century
Another absolute must-have book from the inimitable Nick Foulkes and French imprint Assouline. This covers the twilight of the Romanov dynasty through les années folles of Art Deco Paris to the jet-set seventies, Bals explores the nine most exceptional private costume parties of the twentieth century, in the most beautiful book ever produced on the subject.
In addition to social commentary both by and about colourful characters like Paul Poiret, Truman Capote, and Cecil Beaton who immortalised these extraordinary balls, Jacqueline de Ribes, Hélène David-Weill, and Marisa Berenson share their vivid souvenirs in first-person narrative.
Assouline’s ‘Palm Beach‘ tells the story of how the area came to be an iconic American destination synonymous with old-world glamour. Written by longtime PB resident Ms Aerin Lauder, it is packed with insight and over 250 beautiful images and passages to give the reader a window into the architecture, scenic landscapes and local cuisine.
A wanderlust journey through the decades of glorious design and decadence of the storied palm-lined neighbourhood.
Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken
A central figure of London’s social and artistic scene, Daniel Lismore has imprinted his unique creative stamp on international culture via his very own genre of living art. Known for elaborate and extravagant ensembles that brilliantly combine haute couture with charity-shop finds, yards of vintage fabrics and tartans, found objects, ribbons, feathers, chain mail, shells, ethnic jewellery, retro accessories, millinery and more his expression of eccentric, creative energy has captured the imagination of fashion editors and blue chip brands alike.
A prominent fixture in the international fashion set, he is both tastemaker and friend to prominent names from Kate Moss and Stephen Fry to Debbie Harry, Boy George and Vivienne Westwood.
In this, his first major (and highly collectible) publication, Lismore has selected thirty major ensembles rich with social, historical, and cultural themes from around the world. Lismore’s unique sartorial point of view and wildly imaginative sculptural creations beckon fashion lovers to question and analyse their own personal identity and individual sense of style.
UP NEXT: Your Autumnal Art Calendar…