Missing that last minute gift for a special someone? Looking for a good read for the festive break? Our guest writer Sarah Hyde takes a look at some of the best interior design books available today, with a little help from some rather special friends…
With the festive season fully upon us, we have been contemplating our favourite Interior Design reads, and decided to ask some of the industry’s most renowned designers which books inspired them and why…after all, at this time of year what can be better than to escape the demands of reality and lose yourself for moment or two in a really good book?
Renowned designer and long term Decorex community member Justin Van Breda is currently enjoying Nicky Haslam’s A Designers Life because it is “fun and does not take itself too seriously” – we can certainly see the appeal!
Lulu Lytle of Sloane’s favorite book is a true classic - Mario Praz, An illustrated history of Interior Decoration. Lulu said: “As well as being superbly illustrated it is a scholarly review of over 4000 years of domestic interiors brilliantly referencing period furniture and so of particular interest to me when researching the origins of furniture designs”.
Both Janine Stone and Victoria Meale recommended Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan, an “homage to the beauty and style of Marella Agnelli’s quite remarkable life and times” …
Janine Stone: “A semi autobiography co-written with her niece Marella Caracciolo Chia, Marella Agnelli’s alluring and extraordinary life is told in stories set around the magnificent properties that she and her husband, Gianni Agnelli acquired and decorated throughout their lives together. It took me on a fascinating journey filled with sumptuous images and rich in interesting detail. Perhaps we shall not see this level of living again in our lifetime”.
Victoria Meale: “A breathtakingly beautiful coffee table book – offering a window into the exclusive world of one of the twentieth century's most glamorous and alluring women. The fashion world melds effortlessly with Interior Design as we explore the series of timeless private homes and gardens which she designed – for me the ultimate in “lifestyle” inspiration & indulgence!”.
Esteemed designer Philip Vergeylen has chosen another book about a rather famous socialite - Elsie de Wolfe’s Paris: Frivolity before the Storm by Charlie Scheips
“This book- full of unpublished photographs- focuses on Elsie de Wolfe as one of the best known American hostesses in Europe rather than a decorator. The images of the two legendary Circus Balls include not only candid party shots but behind the scenes documentation of the extensive preparation that went into every party. Overall the book is testimony to the elegance, glamour and imagination of De Wolfe’s style of entertaining in Paris in the late 1930’s.”
From Hong Kong Sir David Tang expresses a preference for the world of Jaques Garcia, "I love Jacques Garcia's style and his books. So sumptuous, romantic, alluring and luxuriating." - And we can’t help but agree!
Wendy Nichols at Sybil Colefax and Fowler enjoys the freedom of Jaime Parlade because “he works like a painter and is not hampered by convention” Terrific.
And last, but never by any means least, Nicky Haslam, who’s own book a Designers life has just been published, recommends A Curious Friendship by Anna Thomasson, an intriguing read about Rex Whistler and Edith Olivier and their Beaton/Tennant/Messel coterie. Sounds right up our street too!
Read more from the Decorex blog here, or see the Decorex Interviews including Nicky Haslam, Justin Van Breda, and Victoria meale!