In a year studded with beautiful new volumes by and about artists and designers ranging from Alexander McQueen to Andrea Zittel, these are the five that we found most inspiring.
Autobiography of a Fashion Designer: Ralph Rucci (Bauer and Dean) by Ralph Rucci, with photographs by Baldomero Fernandez
Fashion designer and artist Ralph Rucci has been betrayed by key members of the fashion press, who should have made him a household name years ago, but critics, curators, and connoisseurs have picked up the slack. This just-published volume is a fascinating follow-up to Ralph Rucci: The Art of Weightlessness (Yale University Press), published in 2007 to accompany the Museum at FIT’s exhibition of the designer’s work. Like Rucci’s exquisite creations, Autobiography of a Fashion Designer rewards patience and close-looking, with pages of lush color photos and descriptions of the couture techniques used (and in some cases pioneered) in the Chado Ralph Rucci atelier. Inspired by Sol LeWitt’s Autobiography (1980), a kind of exhaustive visual index of the artist’s life, this book also tells the stories behind 20 objects Rucci has collected in his lifetime. It’s a fitting tribute to an uncompromising designer with the soul of artist.
Alexander Girard by Todd Oldham and Kiera Coffee (Ammo Books)
Treat yourself to the amazing Alexander Girard mega-monograph by designer Todd Oldham and writer Kiera Coffee. The product of nearly four years of research and, at 672 pages, an innovative scheme of printing and binding, this book is a must for any design lover. Oldham was granted exclusive permission to sift through the fastidiously kept archives of Girard (1907-1993), who is best known for his folk art-infused textiles for Herman Miller but also designed everything from buildings to typography. “I’d estimate that 90 percent of the work in the book hasn’t been seen,” Oldham told us earlier this year. “Wait ‘til you see the stuff from his early design career, in the ‘20s.” And take a closer look at the image credits: many of the archival photos were taken by frequent Girard collaborator Charles Eames.