Well-Tomed

Looks at Books for Fall

PC Staff
Posted:
August 29, 2012

Alexander the Great 

Love Looks Not with the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen by Anne Deniau (Abrams, cloth-cased, $75) is a much-anticipated book for fall. This visual fashion history covers the 13 years when Deniau was the only photographer allowed backstage to film the before, during and aftermath of McQueen’s emotionally charged runway shows in Paris. His horrifyingly intricate and exacting productions were spectacular and brilliant, and are now articulated into fashion legend. More than 400 pages, the 10”-by-13” volume has a cover that’s going to grace many a Knoll cocktail table. Holly Moore

 

The World for a Dukedom

One of the most hotly anticipated books by everyone from decorators to Islamic art specialists, Doris Duke’s Shangri La: A House in Paradise (Thomas Mellins and Donald Albrecht, Rizzoli $55) chronicles an architectural masterpiece by celebrated architects Wyeth and King, which was completed in the late ’30s. Duke, dubbed “the richest girl in the world” in 1925 when her father died, had legions of lovers and a smaller number of husbands, but she more successfully collected untold treasures to fill this vast Mughal mansion. Gathered throughout 60 years of travel and scholarship (objects, not husbands), 3,500 treasures decorate the Mughal Suite, Moroccan Room, Turkish Room, Mughal Gardens, Mihrab Room and Damascus Room. The Play House is a reduced-scale version of the 17th-century Chehel Setun in Esfahan, Iran. In her collection of lovers and husbands, she married twice: first Robert Cromwell, then the famous polo-playing playboy Porfirio Rubirosa — and I blush to tell you why he was famous. Tragically, while driving a rented car, she miscalculated her brakeage and lurched forward, crushing her interior designer, Eduardo Tirella against the massive iron gates of her Newport estate, which they were redecorating. Duke herself died in 1993 from an overdose of doctor-prescribed morphine, but this billionaire tobacco heiress left the design world with a jewel. Holly Moore

 

English decorator Ben Pentreath has a design studio in London and a country house in an old parsonage in Dorset. It’s the Dorset house I’m dying to see in English Decoration (Ryland Peters & Small, $40). This book covers classic English style, high and low, a bit eccentric, a little bit artless. A must read: Pentreath’s blog at benpentreath.com/inspiration. Diane Dorrans Saeks

 

I don’t cook, but I love reading about food and photos of food. I’ve lunched in the Antwerp castle garden (beneath a flowering apple tree) with the Vervoordts, so At Home with May and Axel Vervoordt: Recipes for Every Season (Flammarion, $45) is on my reading and gazing list. Their simplicity and artlessness (sort of) is the ultimate sophistication. The book has 107 recipes … and lots of garden lunch settings. Swoon. Diane Dorrans Saeks


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