Cover of Alexander McQueen: Working Process (right) and interior image (left).
1. Alexander McQueen: Working Process ($60, Damiani), edited by Alexander McQueen, photos by Nick Waplington, text by Susannah Franke
In 2008, Alexander McQueen recruited art photographer Nick Waplington to create a visual diary of his fall 2009 collection. The show, intended to culminate 15 years of work, would ultimately stand for something far greater, as it was the designer’s last before his sudden death in 2011. Alexander McQueen: Working Process chronicles the 45 days leading up to the famed “Horn of Plenty” show, captured in moments of joy, sorrow, and genius. The tome preserve’s McQueen’s legacy with more than 120 photographs published exactly as the artist storyboarded them, along with a poignant essay by fashion journalist Susannah Frankel.
Cover of Amber, Guinevere, and Kate Photographed by Craig McDean (right) and interior image (left).
2. Amber, Guinevere, and Kate Photographed by Craig McDean: 1993–2005($100, Rizzoli), by Craig McDean, Mathias Augustyniak, and Glenn O’Brien Amber, Guinevere, and Kate Photographed by Craig McDean: 1993–2005 zooms in on the penultimate trio of anti-supermodels—Kate Moss, Guinevere van Seenus, and Amber Valletta—who personified the controversial “heroin-chic” image of fashion in the 1990s. At more than 200 pages, the hefty volume showcases the muses’ fierce energy in all of its gritty, un-retouched glory. Flip through 150 color and black-and-white images, pre-digital contact sheets, and outtakes from famous shoots that will make you yearn for the time when photos were a product of models’ personalities, not Photoshop.
Cover of Chloé: Attitudes (right) and interior image (left).
3. Chloé: Attitudes ($85, Rizzoli), text by Sarah Mower, foreword by Gaby Aghion, contribution by Marc Ascoli
Launched in 1952 as a “luxury prêt-à-porter,” Parisian fashion house Chloé continues to define the modern woman with its flattering, ready-to-wear pieces (and, if history is any indicator, at least one coveted It bag per season). In honor of the brand’s 60th anniversary, Chloé: Attitudes retraces the rise of the brand—from its growth with Karl Lagerfeld in the ’60s to its current incarnation under creative director Clare Wright Keller—with 300 color photographs that illustrate why the maison, which was a favorite of icons like Grace Kelly, Jackie O, and Brigitte Bardot, remains a go-to for the fashion darlings of today.
Cover of A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph (right) and interior image of Audrey Hepburn (left).
4. A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph ($125, Glitterati), by Douglas Kirkland, foreword by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin
Want to relive the biggest moments in fashion and pop culture over the past six decades? Crack open A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph, in which the photographer who began his career at LOOK and Life magazines recounts his illustrious career—from a 1961 photo shoot with Marilyn Monroe (swathed in a white silk sheet) to special photography assignments on the sets of films like Out of Africa, The Great Gatsby, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and numerous magazine covers and fashion features. In addition to famous faces like Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot, John Wayne, and Elizabeth Taylor, the book also features a foreword by Australian director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby) and his wife, lauded costume designer Catherine Martin, as well as a lengthy biography (for a photo tome, at least) penned by Kirkland himself.
Cover of This Is A Kenneth Cole Production (right) and interior image of Cole and Nelson Mandela (left).
5. This Is A Kenneth Cole Production($75, Rizzoli), by Kenneth Cole and Lisa Birnbach
Now with 30 years under his (presumably reversible) belt, Kenneth Cole has become a household name, as much for his social activism as for his tough-yet-tailored designs. To mark the milestone, Cole has released This Is A Kenneth Cole Production, a visual history of the company that features commentary by such boldface names as Diane von Furstenberg, Joe Zee and president Bill Clinton, as well letters from both fans and foes. And in the spirit of the giving and the holiday season, 100 percent of the book’s profits will be donated to amfAR, for which Cole is chairman of the board.