Book Review – Style Diaries: World Fashion from Berlin to Tokyo

Scrolling through the endless list of fashion bloggers in my Google Reader, I’m often left hazily trying to remember the “who’s who” and the “who wore what” of the fashion blogosphere. Outfit photos are updated daily, new bloggers are constantly emerging, and the images and clothing we love on one day become ephemeral, disappearing into the sartorial black hole we call fashion blogging. Simone Werle’s Style Diaries attempts to pin down the inherently fleeting nature of the “daily outfit shot,” fossilizing these images between cover and spine. The pocket-sized book serves as an interesting freeze frame of indie dress and culture at a particular moment in time and, of course, as seen through Werle’s lens. In just short of 400 pages, Werle profiles dozens of fashion bloggers, who she claims make up “the most visible arm of the indie fashion scene.” While these profiles are predominately made up of striking images ripped straight from the archives of each blog, each blogger is also introduced with a short blurb of personal facts.

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Book Review: 50 Fashion Designers You Should Know

50 Fashion Designers You Should Know is just what the title tells you: this is not a collection of obscure or niche designers, but rather a book profiling the biggest movers and shakers in the fashion industry. More specifically, it is a guide to those who have had the biggest influences, primarily on contemporary western women’s fashion. Spanning from Jeanne Lanvin opening her first hat shop in 1899 to Stella McCartney’s most recent collection, the book features short profiles of the biggest designers who show at the four main fashion weeks (London, Paris, Milan and New York City). While it’s far from being a comprehensive encyclopedia of names, 50 Fashion Designers is excellent as an unintimidating crash course for fashion newbies.

The names included are the more obvious ones: Coco Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs are all present. While the focus is on the famous, there is some variety. Both the more commercial designers (Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein) as well as the avant garde (Yohji Yamamoto, Hussein Chalayan) are included. There are also a few designers who had an impact in their time but have since gone a bit under the radar, like Madeleine Vionnet and Main Boucher.

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