Book Review – The World’s Most Influential Fashion Designers

As an avid book worm and fashion fan, my love for beautiful coffee table style books knows no bounds. From books about well known style icons, to tomes about fashion design and designers, I have managed to array a wonderful collection of books that delight with their images and inform with their text.

With all this in mind, you can see why I would be so excited about doing a book review for The Works. With literally thousands of books to choose from, I headed straight to the online fashion section and selected ‘The World’s Most Influential Fashion Designers’ by Noel Palomo-Lovinska. (Published by Barron’s, 2010.)  The tagline on the book promised to show ‘hidden connections and lasting legacies of fashion’s iconic creators’, which sounded both interesting and informative.


Click to visit The Works.

The book is beautiful and glossy, this is a hardback version. The cover is a perfect illustration of how fashion from the past influences future styles, with a 1930s fashion illustration of a beaded black evening dress juxtaposed against a modern intepretation of the same thing. Once inside the book, the designers are consigned to different catagories which then make up chapters, from ‘Designers as Celebrities’ to ‘Futurists’ and ‘Artisans’ amongst many more. This makes it easy to use the book for reference – you can simply find the chapter on the designer you are interested in.

There are many things to love about this book, both if you choose to use it as a reference book, or if you simply want to read and enjoy it. Each designer is given at least a double page spread, with some, like Halston being given more space. On the page, you have useful chronology, showing you a designer in terms of their influences, and who, in turn, they influenced. This is really interesting, particularly in the case of the American designer of the 1940s and 50s, Claire McCardell, who today is little known outside fashion circles, and yet seems to have influenced just about EVERY big designer from the 1950s onwards.




There are also plenty of beautiful images on every page (I particularly love the ones for the page dedicated to Madame Fortuny).  The photographs are mainly fashion ones, but there are also some celebrity shots to illustrate key designers like Adrian, who predominantly dressed film stars.


This is a really fantastic book for fashion lovers. Currently it is available at the works for just £9.99, with an additional 20% off applied at the checkout.

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The Best Biographies of Fashion Icons


Readers who want to catch up on their favourite fashion icons now have several biographies to choose from. Ranging from Diana Vreeland to Audrey Hepburn, these biographies capture the intimate portraits of fashion’s greatest icons.

D.V. by Diana Vreeland

The only autobiography on this list, D.V. was written by Diana Vreeland. This amazing book is full of stories of her bizarre childhood in France. It follows her hilarious path through England and New York. For fashion lovers, it includes stories of her work as editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Like many autobiographies, this one does not entirely stick to the facts. It goes through an exaggerated story of her curing Jack Nicholson’s back pain and her sighting of the Mona Lisa right before it was stolen in 1911. Despite the exaggerations, the book has a witty way of detailing her life so it feels like she is in the room telling the story.

The Versace Legend

Written by Minnie Gastel, this book traces the development of Gianni Versace. He began his life in Reggio Calabria, Italy and moved to Milan for his first shows. Boasting of an impressive knowledge of world culture, Versace became one of the most talented members of the fashion world. Throughout his life, his designs were worn by Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley and Princess Diana. This biography explores the relationships he had with his lovers and family as it looks through his grandiose lifestyle.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life

Unlike other books about Coco Chanel, Justine Picardie’s stands out due to its interesting writing style and brevity. It recounts stories from the designer’s life and shows illustrations of her designs. Supported by the Chanel brand, this biography steers clear of some of the controversies surrounding Coco. This makes it one of the most accurate biographies available on her. It beautifully details her life growing up in an orphanage in France and how that influenced her later designs.

 Audrey Hepburn

Barry Paris is a noted fan of Audrey Hepburn. As a follower of her Hollywood career and an aficionado of her style, Paris begins the biography with a look at her childhood in the Netherlands. After aiding the Dutch resistance, Hepburn moved on to a Hollywood career where she won an Oscar for her work in Roman Holiday. His look at her life gives a different slant to one of fashion’s most beloved style icons, illustrating how her introverted personality began during war time. Paris gleans information from interviews and articles to make a comprehensive look at Audrey Hepburn’s exceptional later life.

Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion

Written by Lauren Goldstein Crowe, this biography looks at the intimate life of one of Paris’s most eccentric of fashion editors. It relives her sense of whimsy and the unusual styles that made her famous. Much has been written on Blow’s final suicide attempt and Crowe explores the self-destructive parts of Isabella Blow’s nature that led to her death. Born in a noble British family, Isabella Blow lived in poverty for much of her childhood life. She became devoted to fashion later on and was famous for her uniquely designed fascinators. Crowe follows her discovery of Alexander McQueen and the dangerous life Isabella made for herself.

The Beautiful Fall

Unlike the other biographies, this one follows the lives of two of French fashion designers. The writer, Alicia Drake, focusses on the development of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. It concentrates on the rivalry which heated up between them in Paris in the 1970s. These two geniuses both possessed a host of models and socialites within their social circles. Drake follows the path these opposing designers take as they enter the drug-crazed world of Paris. It talks about some of the notorious parties they attended and the impressive fashion collections they developed.

For the true fashion lover, the biographies of these iconic individuals are a must-read. They bring to life the past and illustrate the personalities behind the public personas. 

This guest post was supplied by Joe Shervell for

Secret Santa, Stocking fillers and some Friday Special offers

It’s just a week now until we all break up and wait in anticipation to see what Santa has in store for us (or is that just me acting like an over excited kid…no, thought not!). So this Friday’s shopping special is dedicated to bringing you some last-minute ideas, stocking fillers and secret santa goodies, with nothing over £25.

And as an extra treat, I’ve added details of any early sales, voucher codes and discounts where possible.

La Redoute

The sale has started, with some amazing bargains offering up to 60% off many items.

Cropped Cigarette Trousers, Regular Waist Was £35.00 Now £17.50 click to visit La Redoute

Polka Dot Print U-Neck Cotton-Blend Sweater Was £17.00 Now £8.50 click to visit La Redoute

Dual Fabric Reefer Jacket, 60% Wool Was £59.00 Now £23.60 click to visit La Redoute

Pure Cotton Twill Chinos with Darts Was £13.00 Now £6.50 click to visit La Redoute

Click here to view all sale.

You can also get 40% off New ranges and non sale items

Latest Voucher Codes:

Offer: 40% off your order

Order Code: 8098

Ends: 06/01/2013

T&Cs: Offer valid on full price Autumn Winter 2012 and Spring Summer 2012 Collections. Offer not valid on green page, mini price, online specials, Vertbaudet’s Happy price, sale and already discounted items. Vanessa Bruno edition limitee hiver 2011/12 La Redoute collection is not eligible for discount.

My Wardrobe

Totally loving these fashionable stocking fillers from my-wardrobe.

Harper Collins Books Tale Of The Empress's New Clothes £13.00 click to visit my-wardrobe

Classics Christian Lacroix Papier London A5 Layflat Carnet £15.00 click to visit my-wardrobe

Cash Ca Exclusive Primo And Cashmere Tipped Eye Mask £20.00 click to visit my-wardrobe

25% sale preview ends midnight Sunday.

Simply enter code PREVIEW25 in the promotional box at check out for the discount to be applied.

*Exclusive offer valid on full priced items only. “New Season” and “Classics” items are excluded. Valid from 10th-16th December 2012. Standard exclusions apply. See for full terms and conditions.

Boohoo  50% off Sale starts today

You can get up to 50% off selected sale lines at from today. Perfect dresses for parties over Christmas, or for New Years Eve.

Suzie Studded Collar Bodycon Dress £15 click to visit Boohoo

Kimmy Metallic Bandeau Skater Dress £15 click to visit Boohoo

Lucie Cap Sleeve Quilted PU Front Midi Dress £15 click to visit Boohoo

Alexa Sequin Insert Skater Dress £15 (Save £10) click to visit Boohoo

Click here to view all Boohoo sale.

Cath Kidston

Queen of 1950s style cute Cath Kidston has some fabulous Christmas stocking fillers for under £20.

Buckingham Palace Pocket Mirror £3.36 click to visit Cath Kidston

Bleached Flowers Small 2013 Diary £10 click to visit Cath Kidston

Bleached Flowers Small 2013 Diary £10 click to visit Cath Kidston

Gircle Ditsy Make Up Case £10 click to visit Cath Kidston

Spot Oilcloth Bookbag £18 click to visit Cath Kidston

To view all gifts under £20 click here

New Look.

There are some really cute ideas from New Look – as ever at really reasonable prices. Loving the reindeer t-shirt!

Exclusive Red Reindeer Print T-Shirt £12.99 click to visit New Look

Black Horse Print Tipped Collar Sleeveless Shirt £16.99 click to visit New Look

Tall Gunmetal Sequin Pencil Tube Skirt Now £13.00 click to visit New Look


Up to 50% off Party wear at New Look. Click here to view all.