Gift guide for Mother’s Day: Top 4 books on fashion and lifestyle

May 1, 2021

This Mother’s Day, to acknowledge all mothers in our lives, we highly recommend a book gift. You may have read many of our previous book guides – these gifts never go out of style and are timeless, regardless of occasion, year or recipient’s taste. This year, we focus on books about great women in history, their style and lifestyle. Here is our long-awaited Top 4.

Entertaining Beautifully by Aerin Lauder

Entertaining Beautifully by Aerin Lauder.

With the shifting of our social lives from public spaces to homes, Aerin Lauder, the granddaughter of a legendary beauty mogul Estée Lauder, has published a fabulous coffee table book that truly stands by its name, “Entertaining beautifully”.

The book is full of seasonal inspiration, from spring soirees and summer barbecues in the garden, to vibrant fall intimate dinners and cozy family holiday celebrations. Every page is filled with images of elegant table settings, luxurious floral arrangements and author’s memories and commentaries. From invitations to party favours and “drinks in the study”, Lauder covers all bases for hosting a 5-star dinner.

The book also features her friends and family, who enjoy entertaining as much as Lauder herself. They share their family traditions, style and provide some extra tips and tricks for a successful dinner party. Lauder even shares her address book of trusted vendors at the end.

This book is intended to spark imagination and inspiration to add extra glitz and thought into your dinner parties. It also gives readers an opportunity to see a lifestyle of high-profiled socialites and elite. Entertaining Beautifully will be a great gift for anyone who will enjoy welcoming guests in their house post-pandemic, and who appreciates interior design, gorgeous images and family traditions.

Images courtesy of Rizzoli.

Duchess of Cambridge. A decade of modern royal style by Bethan Holt

Duchess of Cambridge. A decade of modern royal style by Bethan Holt.

On April 29, 2021, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary, which also marked a decade since Kate Middleton received her title and became Her Royal Highness. To sum up the first 10 years of evolution of the royal style, English journalist Bethan Holt wrote a fascinating book that celebrates the style of the future Queen Consort.

Holt is the fashion news and features director at The Telegraph and has been covering royal fashion for years. She interviewed numerous designers who worked with royalty, so a reader can trust her expertise in this area.

Duchess of Cambridge. A decade of modern royal style examines various angles of the Kate Middleton’s fashion power – from her brand choices and their economic impact to the meanings and symbolism that can be read through her fashion. Holt covers insider’ scoops on preparations for Royal tours, community commentaries on Duchess’ fashion influence and the growth of confidence in Kate’s image from the “royal girlfriend” to the Mother of the future King.

From Zara to Erdem, from colour red to colour green, from 5-pound earrings to priceless tiaras, the choice of Duchess’ outfits is never accidental and always intentional. The book is highly illustrated and provides visuals for every look that author describes. In the end, the author provides fun statistics like Duchess’ favourite colours and shoes (L.K.Bennet), how many items by Alexander McQueen she owns (77) or her first time wearing Gucci (June 2017).

This book will be a great addition to the libraries of not only Kate Middleton’s fans, but anyone interested in royal fashion, British fashion and fashion diplomacy. Any young mother would also appreciate this book, as Kate is a great example of navigating motherhood with grace and elegance.

Images provided by Thomas Allen & Son.

The Way We Wed. A Global History of Wedding Fashion by Kimberly Chisman-Campbell

The Way We Wed. A Global History of Wedding Fashion by Kimberly Chisman-Campbell.

For history and fashion history lovers, a new fascinating book has recently been published. The Way We Wed. A Global History of Wedding Fashion by Kimberly Chisman-Campbell perfectly fits the gap in the wedding fashion history.

The edition explores wedding fashion and fashion overall as they are interconnected. Wedding fashion reflects changing lifestyles and customs over time, as well as societal norm and narratives. Wedding as a ritual, a personal milestone, a religious performance and/or a political spectacle – there are plenty of ways to look at it. However, there is always a beautiful bride and groom in gorgeous attire, picked carefully to reflect their values and purposes.

From the Renaissance paintings to images from the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, this book is versatile in its coverage. It discusses not only Royal, White House and Hollywood weddings, but also weddings “For Poorer”, “Remarriages” and “Bridal party” and “Guest List”.  Although the book covers global fashion, it is still mostly Western wedding fashion; there is one chapter about Global Traditions as, to be frank, every traditional wedding could constitute a separate full book.

The Way We Wed is not just a pretty and nice to flip-through-book: this is a great addition to the libraries of history lovers, those who are interested in weddings and its etiquette, family traditions, and even wedding planners.

Image captions and credits:

First image below
Eleanor Roosevelt—the niece of one president and the wife of another—was “decked out beyond description” at her 1905 wedding
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

Second image below
Rachel Ginsburg swapped her drab demob suit for this glamorous red ensemble to marry Walter Foster in London’s Brondesbury Synagogue in 1949
Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Europeana Fashion Project (CC BY 4.0)

Third image below
Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnston wore a tan day dress by her favorite couturier, Jacques Fath, for her second wedding in 1954, and many times thereafter
Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Europeana Fashion Project (CC BY 4.0)

Diana: Style Icon by Dan Jones, Illustrated by Fernando Monroy

Diana: Style Icon by Dan Jones, Illustrated by Fernando Monroy.

The latest edition that celebrates Princess Diana’s style, Diana: Style Icon, has recently been released by Hardie Grant Books. This book is a celebration of Princess of Wales’ style and her everlasting influence on fashion and culture, from her pre-royal days up until the latest season of The Crown, starring Emma Corrin.

This book will be an interesting choice for those who want to familiarize themselves with Lady Di’s style. It features over 60 famous looks of the late Princess, all of them illustrated by the Mexican artist, Fernando Monroy.

The book is divided into seven chapters and aims to progress the evolution of Princess Diana’s style, from chapters of “Shy Di” to “Revenge Looks”. The final image is a stunning illustration of a beautiful portrait by Mario Testino that was supposed to reinvent Lady Diana’s public image and her transition from royalty to a new chapter of her life, tragically abrupted in August 1997.

Every illustration comes with a short story about the look, responding to what-where-and-why worn on certain events, and some commentaries on how relevant those looks would have been in today’s Instagrammable age.

With very limited in-depth symbolism or deciphering Princess Diana’s outfits, this book is enjoyable to flip through and look at. Lady Di has left a legacy that makes her an ultimate style icon, with new cultural text that interprets her looks. This book will be a great addition to the libraries of illustration fans and for those whose appetite for Princess Diana’s fashion just keeps on growing.

Illustrations from Diana: Style Icon A Celebration of the fashion of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. (C) 2021 Reproduced by permission of Hardie Grant Books. All rights reserved.

Feature image from The Way We Wed. A Global History of Wedding Fashion by Kimberly Chisman-Campbell.
Jacqueline Bouvier married John F. Kennedy in a gown made by African American dressmaker Ann Lowe
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

We also recommend you check out our 2017 Mother’s Day Gift Guide and 2018 Mother’s Day Gift Guide.

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Story by Darina Granik

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