New York Through a Fashion Eye by Megan Hess

I spent part of my childhood in New York City and I would love to go again one day. I don’t know if it will happen in quite the style pictured and described in New York Through a Fashion Eye by the amazing Megan Hess. But this is another box-of-chocolates book that I loved perusing. The sense of fun and excitement hopefully anyone has when visiting New York leaps off the pages and the book is essentially a result of what most of us would do (albeit with a different budget and other goals) when going on a trip: make an itinerary.

There are plenty of fantastic places mentioned I’m itching to see myself: the New York Public Library (memories), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, High Line. And if I do receive a sudden cash windfall that makes me curious about all the designer shops listed in the book, at least I’m prepared. Until then, I’ll enjoy the fun illustrations and reminisce about some happy years.

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Iconic: The Masters of Italian Fashion by Megan Hess

Another gorgeous book by the talented Megan Hess, the next one I read after The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments in Fashion. It is about fashion I will most likely never be able to afford, nor need to afford, but it is beautifully, captivatingly illustrated, and written with attention to detail, while still being absorbing and amusing at the same time.

Once again, the illustrations remove some of the sense of unattainability and aloofness when you see photos or videos of the designs, instead bringing to life that which is actually inspiring or entertaining: colours, lines, shapes, humour, combinations, prints. They can also be looked at again and again, whenever and whereever you like, no networking or money spending required.

Italian fashion gives you permission to play, to fall in love and to dress as if life were always utterly glamorous.

A good motto regardles of what you wear.

The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments in Fashion by Megan Hess

To catch a thief must be one of the most stylish movies in the history of Hollywood. Alfred Hitchcock’s romance mystery depicts Grace Kelly in ten costumes, each more beautiful than the last. My favourite, however, is this flowing, draped blue gown by Edith Head. The dress, inspires by Dior’s ‘New Look’, features a gathered skirt and variegated chiffon swathes, and was worn with a matching clutch, white open-toe sandals and a floaty blue stole.

Yes! Megan Hess said it. I have also loved that dress the moment I first set eyes on it in my teens and it is one of the reasons why I still hanker after light-blue frocks. This is one of the many enjoyable moments had while reading The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments in Fashion, that “my” dress made the list happiness, as well as discovering numerous delicious tidbits and trivia about 99 other gowns from the 20th and 21st centuries. Sounds grand, doesn’t it?

The book is lovely to hold in your hands, with it’s gold framing against black and white on the cover, and gold page tips, like a gift ready to be unwrapped again and again. It’s divided into sections covering specific dresses within them – designers, female icons, weddings (with another shout-out to Grace Kelly), music, film and the Oscars. For me the film chapter was especially fun to read, as I recognized many dresses that had also caught my eye in various movies, or got curious about others, especially in older movies I hadn’t seen. But the best part is that the book is not simply about the dresses themselves. In a warm and engaging style, Megan Hess shows with a few well-chosen sentences, just like the strokes in her gorgeous fashion illustrations, the women who gave life to the dresses by wearing them and putting them in the context of a memorable occasion.

The illustrations themselves give the whole representation a different quality then photos do, because while many stories, names and gowns might be instantly familiar, or conjure up specific real-life or cinematic images, removing them slightly from being documented, and illustrating instead makes it all just a tad more magical and imaginative. I may never afford any of the outfits in this book, but I loved the creative approach to showing the potential and the power a dress holds simply for ourselves, whatever dress it is.