With multiple collections to produce each year, designers are on a constant hunt for inspiration. No cultural stone is left unturned. Tank asked 12 leading designers for their summer reading lists.
Dries Van Noten
DRIES VAN NOTENOut of Sight by William Hackman
Hackman’s book documents the Los Angeles art scene of the 1960s. “A recent trip to LA opened a Pandora’s box of fascination for the US west coast,” Van Noten says.
Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
“It’s a beautifully written follow up to Wolf Hall. History and fiction meld perfectly.” Read an extract from Mantel’s latest book on page 44.
MSGM AND EMILIO PUCCIAtonement by Ian McEwan
Massimo Giorgetti recommends McEwan’s novel about lovers Cecilia Tallis and Robbie Turner, who are destroyed by a lie constructed by Cecilia’s sister. “It is a real novel, written very well; Ian McEwan is one of my favourite authors.”
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
American author Frazen centres his tale around the Berglund family, spinning a portrait of marriage and personal freedom. “It is one of my favourite books and also inspired me for the SS15 women’s collection.”
Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
Easton Ellis’ 1998 novel traces the downfall of a model and club promoter who is so perpetually high he doesn’t notice that he is mixed up with model-terrorists. For Giorgietti, the book is “fashion and tension to the nth degree”.
CALVIN KLEIN COLLECTIONIrving Penn: Small Trades
During his time working in Paris, London and New York, Penn created masterful portraits of tradespeople dressed in work clothes and carrying their tools. “It is one of my favourite photography books. I have hundreds of photo books at home and in my studio, but this one is truly special and I find myself continuously coming back to it,” Costa says.
Andy Warhol: Unexposed Exposures by Bob Colacello
“It is currently on my reading list. The book is a collection of black and white photographic prints that Andy Warhol had originally selected for his 1979 book Exposures, but were later removed by his publishers. It is a fantastic book and Bob Colacello – who was also the executive editor of the original book – has such an insider’s view on the 1970s in America that it makes for a fun read.”
DAVID KOMA AND THIERRY MUGLERUnder the Skin by Michel Faber
“I saw the movie last summer and was deeply moved by it, not only by its visual beauty, but also by the sad poetry it projects, the intense feeling of loneliness and suspense. Of course when I found out that it was an adaptation of a book I decided I’ve got to read it.”
Collected Stories by Lydia Davis
“A friend of mine – a writer – suggested I read this book. These are short stories, which is in keeping with my preferences – I like a minimalist approach in literature.”
The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis
“Being a huge fan of this writer, I’ve read all his novels. This collection of short stories is the only one I haven’t touched so far. His style is so sarcastic and dark-humored, yet somehow it’s filled with an ultimate romance, and he uses all those tricks that make prose sound like poetry.”
JASON WU AND BOSSThe Odds by Stewart O’Nan
“Stewart O’Nan is a wildly talented American writer and his novel had me hooked from beginning to end. Subtitled ‘A Love Story’, it is short, honest and bittersweet.” O’Nan’s novel follows the lives of a husband and wife who, on the brink of ending their marriage, take a Valentine’s Day trip.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
“Crazy Rich Asians is a no-holds-barred social satire of a new breed of bold, brash super-rich. Set in Singapore and written by expat Kevin Kwan, it's fast-moving, easy to read and very funny.” Largely inspired by his own childhood, the book is Kwan’s literary debut.
ALTUZARRAThe Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
“This book is both a touching coming-of-age story and a story of defining one’s self. These themes particularly resonated with me when I first read it. It is also a moving portrayal of London and its gay community during the AIDS crisis.”
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
“Lolita is one of those books that hits you really hard, and in disturbing and unexpected ways. I first read it in high school and again recently, and had forgotten not only how erotic it was, but also how sad and tragic.” In Nabokov’s classic and controversial novel, poet Humbert Humbert becomes infatuated with 12-year-old Dolores Haze.
À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust
Proust’s seven-volume novel was first published at the author’s own expense in 1913. “It is a masterpiece of French literature that I think everyone should read at least once in their lifetime. It is an exploration of memory, time and art – it is at once challenging and deeply thought-provoking.”
ERDEM Count d’Orgel’s Ball by Raymond Radiguet
Radiguet weaves together a tale of Count d’Orgel, his wife, the Countess, and what happens when they meet the young François de Séryeuse backstage at the circus. “It is a disturbing love story set in aristocratic, post-World War I Paris,” Moralıoglu says.
Portraits and Observations: The Essays by Truman Capote
“I love Truman Capote. This is a collection of essays from the 1940s all the way up to the 1980s. His stories are so well-observed; I love the portraits of Mae West and Marilyn Monroe.”
Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
“My friend will be in the play version this fall, so I am very curious to read it,” Moralıoglu says of the dark tale of murder and adultery in a haberdashery shop in the Passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon
OPENING CEREMONY AND KENZOGirl in a Band: A Memoir by Kim Gordon
Leon chooses the life story of America’s punk-rock icon, “because everyone should read this amazing story of a strong woman.”
Light Years by James Salter
Lim returns to a novel about a privileged, once-happy American couple. “I first read this book in 2009. I'm married now with two children, so I wonder if my second reading will feel different!”
ISABEL MARANT The Zero Marginal Cost Society by Jeremy Rifkin
“The Zero Marginal Cost Society is very interesting. It’s about the end of the era of capitalism and how people will be able through the internet to create a ‘microsociety’ outside of society. This way they will succeed in living the way they want to live.”
THAKOON The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
“I usually try to read something new – The Buried Giant by Ishiguro looks interesting; something historical – I love reading about old New York; and something classic – Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is so beautifully written and has such a timeless message.”
Julie de Libran
SONIA RYKIEL Fairyland: A Memoir of my Father by Alysia Abbott
“This is one of my favourite books. It is a father/daughter love story told by the daughter, who lives with her father in San Francisco during the 1980s and during that difficult time of AIDS. It is incredibly well written, beautiful and quite emotional. I was in California in the ’80s and I remember when you would start hearing about HIV.”
Et Je la Voudrais Nue (And I Would Like Naked) by Sonia Rykiel
“I’ve read most of her books, but this one I want to read again. I get really inspired by her quotes, her thoughts and the way she plays with words, their meanings and her charm.”
La vie Adulte by Virginie Mouzat
Mouzat is a former fashion critic at Le Figaro and current editor-in-chief of fashion, lifestyle and opinions at French Vanity Fair. “Virginie is a friend and I’ve always loved the way she writes. She is so talented in her references and her knowledge for culture, fashion and history… I’m very happy to read her personal work.”
My 1980s & Other Essays by Wayne Koestenbaum
Koestenbaum’s collection of essays on the cultural figures who shaped the 1980s range from Roberto Bolaño to Andy Warhol and Lana Turner. “I love the Debbie Harry cover of the book. The writing style feels similar to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag – I like their books and way of writing.”
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Quick’s debut novel explores love and mental health from the perspective of Pat, who has spent four years in a psychiatric hospital before he is released to live with his parents. Pat soon meets widowed, depressed neighbour Tiffany. “I also need easy, fun, distracting books!”
Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding
“I love an easy, distracting, funny book that really makes you feel like you’re on vacation!” says the bookish designer.
VANESSA SEWARD Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
“I’m a fan – I loved Snobs and love his work as a screenwriter,” says Seward, who recently left her position at A.P.C. to launch her own label.
A Story Lately Told by Anjelica Huston
“I admire these two personalities and can’t wait to read their life stories, as told by themselves.”
The Glass of Fashion by Cecil Beaton
Photographer Beaton’s musings on the fashion personalities that inspired him was first published 1954. “A very good friend of mine just finished reading it and gave it to me, saying that I should read it immediately.”