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5 Books to Read About the Fashion Industry

5 Books to Read About the Fashion Industry

5 Books to Read About the Fashion Industry

Tomorrow classes start back up at Indiana University for the fall semester. Since the beginning of August I've been putting my courses together, including preparing for my student reading group. Each semester I choose two books that I'm interested in reading and I invite students in the School of Art and Design to join me in a discussion twice a month. if they're interested in reading the books too. The following books weren't all read with my student reading group, but if a student ever asks what books I recommend, I often find myself gravitating toward these:


The Woman I Wanted to Be
By Diane von Furstenberg

When a student asks me for a book recommendation, I always start with The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg. I can't believe its been over two years since I've read this book, it really stuck with me! A year before I read this book I visited the LACMA exhibit, Journey of a Dress where I learned more about DVF the woman and the brand. I belatedly fell in love with her signature wrap dress, which represents generations of powerful and independent women.


My Journey
By Donna Karan

I read My Journey by Donna Karan with my student reading group last year. Some of my favorite books are written by strong, creative women: this is one of those books. As a class, we were inspired by her journey which sparked such great conversation during our meetings. We loved it so much my students asked to finish it sooner than we originally planned because they wanted to know how it ended. The best part about the experience was that at first sight, my students weren't too excited about reading it. Donna Karan was a designer of the past, not a designer they wanted to wear. But in the end, she won them over and it was their favorite book of the semester.


I'm ashamed to admit that, as a professor in an apparel department and a fashion historian, I was unaware of Betty Halbreich and her contributions to the world of fashion prior to reading this book. But with a title like I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, With a Twist, how could I not pick it up? Betty was a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman and has such a lovely story to tell about her life and career. 


My Paris Dream was the perfect book to finish reading after completing my first French class. I adored reading about Katherine (Kate) Betts and the years she lived in Paris. Kate Betts is an American fashion journalist who, in the late 1980s, was hired by John Fairchild to oversee the fashion coverage of  Women's Wear Daily, W and M magazines in Paris. This book is great for anyone who wants a glimpse inside the world of a fashion journalist or even those who just romanticize Paris. I was interested in both.


Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography
By Meryle Secrest

"She talked about an era of elegance in fashion that was gone forever. She said most women had too many clothes anyway. They should think hard, buy only what they needed, and the the very best." - Meryle Secrest, Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography. I've tried to live by these words of wisdom since reading them in Meryle Secrest's book over two years ago. I am still fascinated with the life of Elsa Schiaparelli and I think this book is even more relevant with the revival of her fashion house. It was a name long absent from mainstream fashion and I am excited to see it back in popular fashion coverage.

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The Stars in Our Eyes

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Fierce Kingdom