It seems that with Spring in the air, there are major fashion happenings going on all over the world. The best part of these “shows” is that there are fabulous books of all sorts that accompany these happenings. You will find books that serve as catalogs for a particular show and then you might just find a mini flood of book on a particular personality who will be featured as the subject of a show.
With a tradition started by the eternal fashion icon, Diana Vreeland, there will be a new show at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that focuses on 2 of fashions most enduring personalities…Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. With this exhibit comes a flurry of renewed interest in Schiaparelli and a few newly released books that feature her work. One such book is The Little book of Schiaparelli which is fabulous primer and reminder of what made Elsa Schiaparelli a star of Parisian fashion and then there will be a volume which will serve as background and catalog for the show, Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations. The show starts very soon but not before there is the annual gala hosted by Anna Wintour and other very fashionable personalities.Simultaneously in Paris, there is a show at the Musee Decoratifs that celebrates one of fashion’s greatest collaborations, the marriage of Marc Jacobs to Louis Vuitton. Once again there is a beautiful volume that serves as both catalog and coffee table book but with a difference; this one also educates the reader in to the history of the famed malletier. The historical sections, I found to be enormously interesting while the Marc Jacobs section, not so much. Do not despair as the MJ half of the book offers a more candid look at the designer and his team at Vuitton and it is refreshing.Lastly to round out the trio of exhibits is possibly the most interesting, but alas it is at the Museo/ Palazzo Fortuny in Venice. By far this is the one that will inspire viewers and great lovers of fashion as well as the ardent fans of the great Diana Vreeland. Diana Vreeland after Diana Vreeland becomes the catalog for the show but it takes further steps in telling us why and how the show was mounted. The authors also give us some added insights that have previously been ignored in the plethora of books that have dealt with her fabled life.The bottom line remains that the show at the Met will be a must and one really needs to freshen up their Schiaparelli education while the must see show will only last another month or so in Venice. As for the Louis Vuitton show, buy the book and skip the trip. ****PS not all the reviews have been posted as some of the book have yet to be released *** Read all the reviews at www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/jeffrey-felner