Books: The Fashion Book

The Editors of Phaidon Press

Should you still find yourself giftless for that special someone who is passionate about dress, this beautifully illustrated 510-page style encyclopedia could be your salvation. Surveying the past 150 years of fashion history, the book goes beyond what might be expected of such a compilation, offering up entries not only on celebrated designers from Paul Poiret to Helmut Lang but also on tastemakers generally less well known--for example, textile creator Zika Ascher, cobbler Pietro Yantorny and early 20th century cosmetics manufacturer Alexandre Napoleon Bourjoi. Another plus: at $39.95, The Fashion Book is about one-sixth the price of a Hermes scarf.

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