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Best books of 2023 — Fashion

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Book cover of Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier by Marisa Meltzer

Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier
by Marisa Meltzer (Atria/One Signal Publishers)

Glossier founder Emily Weiss has built one of the most successful beauty start-ups of the past decade, valued at $1.8bn in 2021. This enthralling and fast-paced chronicle offers a play-by-play account of Weiss’s rise and eventual stumbles, and the combination of talent, money and matchless ambition that has made her both one of the few female founders to date to build a “unicorn” company — and something of an enigma.

Book cover of CBK: Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy: A life in fashion by Sunita Kumar Nair

CBK: Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy: A Life in Fashion
by Sunita Kumar Nair (Abrams)

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy chose her white shirts and beige midi skirts, corduroy trousers and bias-cut slip dresses to deflect attention, yet it is these clothes and her straightforward way of styling them — alongside her high-profile marriage to John F Kennedy Jr — that has kept her in magazine spreads and pinned to designers’ moodboards ever since her death in 1999. In this beautifully illustrated book, Nair breaks down the elements of Bessette-Kennedy’s style, interspersed with interviews with designers and tastemakers about why it continues to compel.

Book cover of Total Ethics Fashion: People, Our Fellow Animals and the Planet Before Profit by Emma Hakansson

Total Ethics Fashion: People, Our Fellow Animals and the Planet Before Profit by Emma Hakansson (Hardie Grant Media)

In recent years, there has been a deluge of titles chronicling the unsustainable growth of fashion, and proposing alternative systems that promise to work for people and the planet. Hakansson’s is the first to propose a framework including one of the most exploited and little-remembered groups in fashion’s supply chains: animals. It offers useful background and guidelines for industry professionals and fashion consumers alike.

Book cover of Dior by Raf Simons: 2012-2015 by Tim Blanks

Dior by Raf Simons: 2012-2015 by Tim Blanks (Assouline)

Simons was creative director of Dior for only three-and-a-half years, but the creations he left behind are extraordinary. Fashion critic Blanks deftly and succinctly chronicles Simons’ journey from rural Belgium to the top of one of fashion’s most legacied and financially powerful houses. We learn how Simons’ affinity for contemporary art helped him forge a connection to Christian Dior, and produce some of the most compelling and technically accomplished haute couture of the 2010s.

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What are your favourites from this list — and what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

Books of the Year 2023

All this week, FT writers and critics share their favourites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Business by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: Environment by Pilita Clark
Wednesday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Thursday: Fiction by Laura Battle and Andrew Dickson
Friday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Saturday: Critics’ choice

Join our online book group on Facebook at FT Books Café



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