The fashion industry has always been very mysterious and inaccessible to non-insiders. We see the final products in magazines and online, but the public don't usually get to see what goes on behind the scenes. Over the past few years however, we have luckily been able to gain more insight. For example, The September Issue documented what goes on in US Vogue's head office, and social media has let me and many others speak directly to our fashion heroes. I find the most fascinating way to discover the daily life of a fashion icon is by reading one of their auto-biographies. Here are the three absolute must-reads for anyone who wants to know what it's like to be one of the world's most successful creative directors, fashion icons and online fashion CEOs.
GRACE by Grace Coddington
There is no denying that Grace Coddington has one of the most fascinating and rather glamorous lives ever lived! From being one of the most successful models in the sixties, she went on to a be the fashion editor at British Vogue, followed by the design director for Calvin Klein, and is now creative director US Vogue. There are so many entertaining tales of her photoshoots in exotic locations with iconic photographers such as David Bailey and Helmut Newton. She also recalls her friendships with the world's top designers, and I learnt that her opinion was so highly regarded that Yves Saint Laurent always wanted to know her thoughts straight after his catwalk shows. Grace also dedicates a chapter to the other most influential woman in fashion: Anna Wintour. Let's face it, we all want to know what she is really like, and Grace certainly knows her well enough to tell us after working alongside her for almost twenty years. Amongst the memoirs of Grace's incredible career are very personal stories from the great loves in her life to the awful tragedies. This woman has become such a hero in my eyes, and I'm sure anyone else reading her book would agree that she is an incredible and inspiring woman.
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amorouso
I have never read a more empowering book in my life! This is a real-life rags to ritches story where nothing but Sophia's passion, creative talent, attention to detail and hard work got her to where she is today: CEO of $100 million-plus business Nasty Gal. All in the space of just a few years too! As well as her life story, Sophia includes her favourite inspiring quotes and mini-biographies written by other top fashion insiders who she classes as 'Girlbosses.' I love the word 'girlboss' that she created, which she defines as someone who takes control of their life and works hard for what they want while having fun along the way. Sophia also proves that you don't have to take life too seriously to achieve your dreams. She has a great sense of humour which is most evident in the chapter 'Shitty Jobs Saved My Life'. It's her words of wisdom though that I enjoyed reading the most, and that's what makes me want to re-read this book throughout my life.
IT by Alexa Chung
With a background in modelling, we have seen Alexa Chung grow from television presenter to an all-round fashion favourite. She is undoubtably one of the most copied fashion icons of our generation, and all fans of her style will love this book. It isn't so much a detailed account of her life (hopefully that will come in later years) but a stylish kind of scrapbook filled with her sketches and snapshots alongside a collection of her thoughts. These include her fashion influences, how she gets dressed, the problem with social media, her love of karaoke, being heartbroken, and what it's like sitting on the front row at Fashion Week. Flicking through Alexa's book will mostly make you giggle and also make you wish she was your friend.
Which of these books have you read or want to read?
Love from Lou Lou