top 10 fashion books

top 10 fashion books you must absolutely read

Because of the lockdown, at BUTTONS PARADISE, we adapt our editorial line to offer you articles that allows you to get away or keep busy! So, let’s take advantage of it together to make it a positive moment! You may have said to yourself, “Well, I wish I could read such a book, but I never have time.” Well, it is time 🙂 Because we know that you are in love with fashion as much as we are, we have decided to offer you our top 10 fashion books that you should definitely read.

PS: We even found the links to find them in physics or digital if necessary.

Let’s go:


1. Vintage Fashion by Nicky Albrechtsen
Fashion Book – Vintage Fashion – Nicky Albrechtsen

A mine of gold and information, this illustrated book retraces the history of fashion. As a guideline it shows how the ideas and creations of the past continue to inspire or even influence those of today.

Hence, Vintage Fashion takes us on a journey through more than a thousand iconic pieces, photographed exclusively for the book. They reproduce the creations of yesterday worn by icons of today’s style.

From the 1920s to the 1980s, the book illustrates 60 years of creations chronologically and thematically. Filled with practical explanations, anecdotes and … Vintage Fashion. This is why this book is undoubtedly a fashion bible. Finally, mixing shapes and materials, this fashion book confirms that style is timeless.

Vintage Fashion – Nicky Albrechtsen – Citadelles & Mazenod Edition – € 89
Fnac: or Amazon:

2. Why is it a masterpiece? by Marnie Fogg
Fashion Book – Pourquoi est-ce un chef d’oeuvre ? – Marine Fogg


Do not trust the size of this book! It is a small format (surprising isn’t it?), but very complete. Why is it a masterpiece? This is precisely what this book explains to us through an unprecedented analysis of 80 creations that have hit the mark in the history of fashion. In the form of a notice, he presents each work as a whole, starting with its context and going into the details of what made it famous, exceptional or even emblematic.

To put your mouth watering, you can easily find the story of the White Shirt by Yohji Yamamoto, the Corset by Jean-Paul Gaultier worn by Madonna, or the Little Black Dress signed Chanel. In short, a superb invitation behind the scenes of fashion creation explained by style, materials and creators. This book offers a concise, precise and lively rendering that will delight you!

Why is it a masterpiece? Marnie Fogg – Eyrolles Edition € 12.90
Eyrolles Edition:

3. Yves Saint Laurent,
the madness of the accessory by Patrick Mauriès
Fashion Book – Yves Saint Laurent : The Madness of fashion accessories – Patrick Mauriès


Notice to lovers of beautiful books, Yves Saint Laurent: The madness of the accessory, is a work that traces the boundless creativity of one of the greatest French designers for accessories. An anthology compiling all the Yves Saint Laurent accessories since the creation of the haute couture house. An illustrated and explanatory book which makes it possible to better decipher the accessories manufactured between 1962 and 2002.

It combines photographs of jewelry, belts, gloves or bridal adornments and buttons! A big blue pavement, a clever mix of preparatory drawings and photos taken behind the scenes of the parades. Through this book, one is immediately taken into his universe, and made aware of his love for accessories. As he liked to say, “The importance of accessories cannot be overstated. They are the ones who transform a dress. I like a dress to be sober and a crazy accessory. ” You will understand, we absolutely love this book!

A great source of inspiration for us every day, and a shared vision of the importance of accessories.

Yves Saint Laurent, the madness of the accessory – Patrick Mauriès
Éditions Phaidon € 49.95

4. Mode Anvers L’Académie 50 by Flammarion Publisher
Fashion Book – Mode Anvers L’académie 50 – Éditions Flammarion


Creator of the greatest fashion designers, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp celebrates its 50th anniversary with a book published by Flammarion. He presents through photographs and stories, the story of a school that “has proven that creativity was the only way even in times of crisis!” “, As Jean-Paul Gaultier says in the preface. Statement which is de rigueur you tell us! 🙂

Travel and transcription of the best years of this school which is one of the most prestigious fashion design schools in the world. It is notably thanks to the generation of Martin Margiela and Six of Antwerp (Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter Van Beirendonck and Marina Yee), who largely contributed to this renown.

This book is therefore a real invitation to explore the fifty years of history of the fashion section, following behind the scenes the specific teaching methodologies, the legendary annual fashion show, all while following the journey of several generations of students. In short, a sublime book, which is filled with new archives giving voice to the creators themselves with exclusive interviews. Happy birthday to the Academy of Antwerp :)!

Mode Anvers L’académie 50 – Flammarion Publisher € 24.90 Fnac:


5. Beautiful People – Alicia Drake
Fashion Book – Beautiful People – Alicia Drake

Beautiful People, subtitled “Saint Laurent, Lagerfeld: splendors and miseries of fashion”, is a story that crosses paths with the two monuments of creation that revolutionized fashion in the 70s and 80s. It all started in 1954. The International Wool Secretariat Competition crowned two young strangers (at the time): Yves Saint Laurent, who was 18, and Karl Lagerfeld, who was 21. Both have turned the fashion industry upside down in their own way: one serving brands he will transform and the other in his own home.

This is what journalist Alicia Drake highlights in her novel by retracing their meteoric rise. Also an exceptional investigation, which makes it possible to define the cross portrait of two charismatic personalities. Furthermore, between the story of friendship and rivalry, neuroses and obsessions, passing by fear their ambitions. Finally, the journalist draws the parallel of these two stories that are linked and untied by highlighting the excesses of the time: drugs, AIDS, industrialization of fashion, search for money …

So this is why Beautiful People is a book to read absolutely! Especially if you want to decipher this unique moment in our history: in the hustle and bustle of fashion Paris and the most fantastic decades.

Beautiful People – Alicia Drake – Éditions Folio Gallimard € 10
Fnac: or Amazon:

6. And Dior created Victoire – Victoire Doutreleau
Fashion Book – Et Dior créa Victoire – Victoire Doutreleau

“She walks towards him. The stranger has the insolent grace of Saint-Germain-des-Prés; he is the master of fashion. Head down, Christian Dior observes at length: You will be a model, he says, and names you Victoire. – Excerpt from Et Dior created Victoire.

So, this is how the career of the woman begins! Similarly, she will become the most famous model of her time (the 1950s): Victory. But above all, through the largest fashion house in Paris, this stranger will become a true icon. Dior created Victoire is therefore a biography of the life of Victoire Doutreleau. She shares her story with us in complete privacy. From its beginnings to its glory through the after model. Indeed, Victoire will know glory and learn to face it. Not Surprisingly either, she will have to juggle between fighting against the jealousy of women, appetites of men, Paris traps … Victory will especially have to accompany a lot of celebrities (Princess Margaret, the Empress of Japan…).

It was then that she discovered the excitement and decadence of the Parisian nights of the time accompanied by her two friends, still unknown: Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. In short, Victoire Doutreleau opens us in this biography, behind the scenes of the collections and shows us behind the scenes.

In short, a roughly well written and intimate story in which we discover a rebellious model. Yes yes you heard right … She always refused to wear a sheath! (An outrage at that time :))

And Dior created Victoire – Victoire Doutreleau – Éditions Robert Laffon € 8
Book available in E-book (Kindle / Kobo / Epub / Google Play)

7. Sonya Rykiel: When she has no Red, she puts on Black by Carmen Castillo and Evelyne Pisier
Fashion Book – Sonia Rykiel : Quand elle n’a pas de rouge elle met du noir – Carmen Castillo et Evelyne Pisier

Indeed, what about a true story of a lifetime? Amazing because this book is at the perfect cross between a biography and a novel: The true story of Sonya Rykiel’s life. Carmen Castillo and Evelyne Pisier followed the career of this great lady, Sonya Rykiel, for a year. They take up in this book, all its history, and especially, all its life.

Indeed, she was the oldest of five girls from a family of Jewish emigrants from Russia and Romania, she has no diploma in her pocket.

In contrast, Sonya Rykiel is part of this avant-garde of women who have excelled through their double hats: Designer and Company Manager. Back on this woman who invented a style that liberates women and their gestures, while founding a family empire so she defends independence at all costs. A book that subtly combines humor and provocation with the image of the designer, in order to bring us into the interlacing of her destiny, her private life, her secrets, her intimate dramas but also her loves and her successes.

Sonya Rykiel: When she has no Red, she puts on Black – Carmen Castillo and Evelyne Pisier – Éditions Fayard € 21.90

8. The Panther by Stéphanie des Horts
Fashion Book – La panthère – Stéphanie des Horts

The Panther is a biography of the famous Jeanne Toussaint.

This book, written by journalist Stéphanie de Horts, traces her life entirely. It all started at the end of the 19th century, when Jeanne Toussaint was born in Flanders of embroiderers. Also endowed with a desire for steel, she set out very quickly to conquer Paris accompanied by her very sure and very pronounced taste for fashion. It was then that she met Louis Cartier, the famous jeweler, who fell in love with him from the first moment. As a result, she quickly becomes his muse, and he teaches her precious stones and mysterious alloys.

A few years later, their symbiosis will give birth to absolutely extraordinary and iconic jewelry: Birds of Paradise, Egrets and Chiseled Tiaras, but above all and not least, the mythical Panther which will become the emblem of the label. It was at this very precise moment that a new style was born, hers, that of Jeanne Toussaint.

Thus, Stéphanie de Horts highlights the surprising destiny and the flamboyant personality of the one who was the greatest jeweler of her time. Moreover, through reading this book, you will come to meet the key figures of the century who were an integral part of Jeanne Toussaint’s life. For example, Proust, Cocteau, Hemingway, Scott and Zelda, Coco Chanel or the Duchess of Windsor.

La Panthère – Stéphanie des Ports – Le Livre de Poche Publisher € 8
Book available in E-book (Kindle / Kobo / Epub / Google Play)

9. The Irregular by Edmonde Charles-Roux
Fashion Book – L’irrégulière Coco Chanel – Edmonde Charles-Roux

The book L’irrégulière, subtitled “Coco Chanel’s itinerary” is THE reference biographical book on the life of Gabrielle Chanel.

So in this book, the writer traces the journey of the first 70 years of this century. Taking up the journey of the most famous seamstress in the world. Because everything is there: her childhood spent in an orphanage with her sister. Then her young years in Moulins where she learned sewing, passing by her arrival in Paris where she created the house Chanel. 

What is even more surprising is that it is a veritable collection of minute details. But also, it is for the first time lifted the veil on the history and psychology of Coco Chanel. In fact, it is portrait of a famous stranger who, throughout her life, has been marginal, “irregular”.

As a matter of fact, the writer Edmonde Charles-Roux was president of the Académie Goncourt from 2002 to 2014.

As a result, her famous book, L’irrégulière, was adapted for cinema by Anne Fontaine “Coco avant Chanel” interpreted by Audrey Tautou and with the actors Benoît Poelvoorde and Marie Gillain. If you want to know more, we talked about it in our previous article – Top 10 Fashion Movies.

The Irregular – Edmonde Charles-Roux – Le Livre de Poche Editions € 9
Book available in E-book (Kindle / Kobo / Epub / Google Play)
Fnac: or Amazon:

10. How should we dress? by Adolf Loos
Fashion Book – Comment doit-on s’habiller ? – Adolf Loos

Adolf Loos (1870-1933) is a famous Austrian architect. He is revolutionary and an advocate of total stripping in modern architecture. But not only !

He was also a brilliant chronicler who was in favor of waking up Austria in the 20th century by inculcating in it the principles of modernity.

A true collection. Therefore, the book How should we dress, brings together all the texts he wrote on the subject of clothing and fashion. An intellectual, spiritual and somewhat mad work, in which nothing escapes the author.

Thus, from hats to shoes via underwear … it decrypts everything! He also does not pride himself on answering the question of his own novel: How should we dress? The book is then classified according to several questions such as: According to what criteria to choose your coat? How do you look like a gentleman when you ride a bike? Should women wear short hair? In short, a lesson in style!

Aldolf is also the author of another book, “Paroles dans le vide”. Book that we love at BUTTONS PARADISE, since it contains, according to our founder, the most beautiful of the quotes on the button:

“If nothing else were to remain of a disappeared people than a single button, it would be possible for me, from the shape of this button, to deduce the clothing and the uses of this people, its mores and its religion, its art and its intellectual life. So great is the importance of this button. […]. But the way is this: God creates the artist, the artist creates the era, the era creates the artisan, the artisan creates the button. ” LOOS Adolf, Paroles dans le vide, 1897-1900, Ivrea, 1994 Answers to questions from the audience (1919) p.270

How should we dress? – Adolf Loos – Editions Les Cahiers Rouges Grasset € 8
Book available in E-book (Kindle / Kobo / Epub / Google Play)
Fnac: or Amazon:

Now tell us! What are your favorite fashion books? 🙂

Do not hesitate to tell us in the comments, we will be happy to discuss with you your favorites and discover new nuggets together!

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