Vintage Black Glamour
This book is teeming with dazzling, rarely seen images and untold stories that celebrate performers such as Eartha Kitt and Aretha Franklin. It also profiles countless talented women who should be household names, including Pearl Primus and Diana Sands, who broke social norms and were instrumental in shaping modern music, film, television and literature.
Vintage Black Glamour by Nichelle Gainer, US$55 through vintageblackglamourbook.com.
Streetwear pioneer Willi Smith is among fashion history’s most successful African American designers, and with this compelling publication he finally gets his due. Over 200 glossy pages examine the visionary creator and WilliWear, the revolutionary brand he built, which is considered a forefather to labels such as Supreme and Off-White.
Willi Smith: Street Couture, edited by Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, $60 at bookstores and online.
Considered the creator of the modern beauty industry, Helena Rubinstein is also lauded as a feminist and progressive thinker who saw cosmetics as the stuff of liberation. This illustrated biography, which was published to coincide with an exhibition at the Museum of the Art and History of Judaism in Paris, examines her remarkable life and rise to prominence.
Helena Rubinstein: The Adventure of Beauty, edited by Michele Fitoussi, $55 at bookstores and online.
Come Fly With Me
As we collectively yearn to globetrot again, this book whisks readers to the airport and presents jet-setting music icons and culture movers who used the terminal and tarmac as their runway. There’s plenty of visual inspiration for a chic return to the skies.
Come Fly With Me: Flying in Style by Jodi Peckman, $40 at bookstore and online April 20.
This is the first-ever glossy tome to celebrate top Black models and their indelible influence on style and culture. Spectacular images of 70 women from the past 75 years are presented alongside essays that pull the curtain back on the Black experience within the fashion industry.
Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion by Marcellas Reynolds, $63 at bookstores and online.
Over the past year, socializing has often occurred outdoors and on the streets, a place pioneering photographer Bill Cunningham considered the most thrilling venue to view and capture fashion. The photographs featured in this book are accompanied by caring essays that help reveal the man behind the lens.
Bill Cunningham On The Street: Five Decades Of Iconic Photography, $86 at bookstores and online.
Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things
A dazzling group of young and unconventional aristocrats dubbed the Bright Young Things swirled at the centre of society in 1920s London. Legendary aesthete Cecil Beaton was both an esteemed member of the group and its unofficial photographer. This volume masterfully brings together his portraits and snapshots of that heady epoch.
Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things by Robin Muir, $70 at bookstores and online.
The World at Your Feet
With videoconferencing continuing as the new normal for meetings and socializing, expressions of style have been focused above the waist, leaving shoe collections languishing. One hundred stand-out examples from the Bata Shoe Museum’s archive are the focus of this eclectic history-filled volume, which might serve as inspiration for our postpandemic return to anything other than slippers.
The World at Your Feet: Bata Shoe Museum by Elizabeth Semmelhack, $67.50 at bookstores and online.