August Book Club: The Pampered Life

Summer isn’t over yet, and neither are those long and lazy days at the beach, patio cocktails, outdoor concerts, or hot evenings spent lounging by the pool. We’re all about living the pampered life this month, and any one of the book picks below will turn hours spent reading into a fanciful flight of self-love, indulgence, and treats.

Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Clicquot is the quintessential drink of choice for celebrations and lavish affairs. The luxe label invented rose champagne in 1775, and Madame Clicquot (who became the widow, or veuve, of the label’s founder’s son, eventually taking ownership of the business and thus becoming the first woman to ever take over a champagne house) would go on to create the riddling rack, a major breakthrough in champagne production. Specialty publishers Assouline bring us this tome of colourful photographs, quotes, and historical facts about the brand and its iconic gold label. This is an ideal coffee table book — and we bet you’ll be using those coasters for bubbly instead of coffee!

Cabinet Of Wonders, The Gaston-Louis Vuitton Collection

Gaston-Louis Vuitton, grandson of luxury trunk maker Louis Vuitton, followed in the family tradition and ran the company for over fifty years. A lover of all things relating to travel — appropriately so, given that it was those early iconic steamer trunks that first established the Vuitton name — Gaston-Louis was a known collector of objets d’art and curiosity pieces. This book serves as a pictorial journey through the late Vuitton’s collection: carpet bags, trunks, client monograms, perfume bottles, decorative cases, masks, and more grace the pages of this book. And perhaps most curious of all are the shop window designs, sketched in Vuitton’s own hand, which occasionally showcased some of these rare and wonderful objects.

Fast Forward

From the days of those early Model T Fords, automobiles have served as both a reflection of the design aesthetics of a time and a catalyst for pushing design boundaries. This volume from the publishers at gestalten is a colourful survey of some of the most iconic concept cars of all time. Featuring models from the post-war era to the Space Age, stunning rides are complemented with exclusive interviews from the heads of design at BMW and Ferrari. Curious about what the future holds for the world of transportation, especially now that we have entered the age of autonomous electric vehicles? There’s no better way to understand our forward trajectory than to take a look back at these stunning, luxe rides.

Leila Menchari: The Queen Of Enchantment

French design house Hermès boasts the name in luxury scarves, but it’s perhaps another, lesser-known name that helped boost the Hermès reputation. Tunis-born Leïla Menchari designed the window displays of Hermès’ prestigious flagship store in Paris for more than thirty years, drawing inspiration from her world travels. Sojourns in the near and far east, informed by her Beaux-Arts training and encounters with key players in the art world, helped Menchari create some truly iconic, groundbreaking window displays, turning a simple storefront into Egyptian archaeological sites or Parisian landmark monuments.

Valentino: At The Emperor’s Table

The name Valentino is synonymous with haute couture and high luxury. Perhaps lesser known about Valentino Garavani — the founder of the eponymous fashion house — is the fact that he is almost as passionate about the art of entertaining as he is about the fashion runway. Valentino: At The Emperor’s Table is a tantalizing look at various dinners and their lavish place settings in Valentino’s residences around the world. “I have always loved beautiful objects,” Valentino is quoted as saying in the book. “I am in love with beauty.” And such a love is clear in this book, from the gorgeous Russian dinner-service sets to the delicate china, Portuguese porcelain, and Irish glass. “Entertaining thirty or one is the same,” says Valentino. “The food has to be on a beautiful plate.”

Fantastic Man

Fantastic Man is an Amsterdam-based, semi-annual men’s fashion magazine that explores fashion through the lens of in-depth interviews with celebrities and intellectuals. This book was published in celebration of the magazine’s tenth anniversary and features sixty-nine of “the world’s most influential and creative men” — think David Beckham, Ewan McGregor, Tom Ford, Helmut Lang. These photos were also captured by some of the world’s biggest photographers and celebs in their own right: Juergen Teller, Bruce Weber, and Wolfgang Tillmans. Gents, this one is a must for the home library.

The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris

The 1970s were, in a sense, the golden age of fashion in Paris. Celebrities, artists, and hopeful designers flocked to the city of love, dazzled by its burgeoning haute couture scene. At the centre of it all, amidst the lavish, fast-paced excess of the era, sizzled a feud between two of the fashion world’s most iconic figures: Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. This book follows their rivalry and the divisive impact it had on the Parisian fashion world as two ambitious visionaries built their respective legacies. It was a battle worthy of tabloids and soap operas, and perhaps Gotham put it best in its book review: “It’s like US Weekly, 1970s style.”

Infused Booze

This book is the perfect summertime guide to have on hand. Decadent cocktails aren’t just a treat to be enjoyed when dining out on a downtown terrace; August is a month for entertaining, preferably by an outdoor fire pit or pool, and Infused Booze will help you impress guests with cocktails that are every bit as gorgeous as they are delicious. This book contains easy instructions on how to make over sixty infused spirits and liqueurs, most of which can be prepared in just ten minutes — time (usually about three days) does the rest of the work!

Shoplifter! New Retail and Architecture Spaces

Earlier this spring we took a look at how online shopping has forced retail companies, interior designers, and architects to combat the convenience of online shopping by becoming increasingly creative and innovative when it comes to brick-and-mortar storefronts. Shoplifter! is an in-depth look at how the retail experience has become every bit as important as the end product. Stunning photography and case studies take the reader on a journey into some of the most innovative concept storefronts in the world, across a variety of industries. If you’re a savvy shopper or branding culture buff, spoil yourself with this stitch bound, hardcover volume.

Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design


Finally, is there any place more in keeping with the pampered life than Hollywood? We’ve previously taken a look at the designer/filmmaker collaborations that have led to some seriously iconic costume pieces, and Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design is a comprehensive exploration of Hollywood’s most unforgettable onscreen garbs. Designers help the world of a film come to life, and perhaps never more successfully than in the films explored here: A Star is Born, Annie Hall, Raiders of the Lost Ark… From Hollywood’s Golden Age to the CGI-laced sci-fi or action thrillers of the present, costume designer and author Deborah Nadoolman Landis (an Academy Award winner herself!) presents costume sketches, photographs, and juicy behind-the-scenes insight on the pieces that have become fixtures of popular culture.