“The most counterintuitive book of the summer thus far…. [Newman’s] surprisingly convincing thesis is that the sartorial choices authors make are deeply connected to the narrative choices they make — or, as Beckett put it, ‘the fabric of language’ they use.” -Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times
Discover the signature sartorial and literary style of fifty men and women of letters, including Maya Angelou; Truman Capote; Colette; Bret Easton Ellis; Allen Ginsberg; Patti Smith; Karl Ove Knausgaard; and David Foster Wallace; in this unique compendium of profiles—packed with eighty black-and-white photographs, excerpts, quotes, and fast facts—that illuminates their impact on modern fashion.
Whether it’s Zadie Smith’s exotic turban, James Joyce’s wire-framed glasses, or Samuel Beckett’s Wallabees, a writer’s attire often reflects the creative and spiritual essence of his or her work. As a non-linear sensibility has come to dominate modern style, curious trendsetters have increasingly found a stimulating muse in writers—many, like Joan Didion, whose personal aesthetic is distinctly "out of fashion." For decades, Didion has used her work, both her journalism and experimental fiction, as a mirror to reflect her innermost emotions and ideas—an originality that has inspired Millennials, resonated with a new generation of fashion designers and cultural tastemakers, and made Didion, in her eighties, the face of Celine in 2015.
Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore examines fifty revered writers—among them Samuel Beckett; Quentin Crisp; Simone de Beauvoir; T.S. Eliot; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald; Malcolm Gladwell; Donna Tartt; John Updike; Oscar Wilde; and Tom Wolfe—whose work and way of dress bears an idiosyncratic stamp influencing culture today. Terry Newman combines illuminating anecdotes about authors and their work, archival photography, first-person quotations from each writer and current designers, little-known facts, and clothing-oriented excerpts that exemplify their original writing style.
Each entry spotlights an author and a signature wardrobe moment that expresses his or her persona, and reveals how it influences the fashion world today. Newman explores how the particular item of clothing or style has contributed to fashion’s lingua franca—delving deeper to appraise its historical trajectory and distinctive effect. Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore is an invaluable and engaging look at the writers we love—and why we love what they wear—that is sure to captivate lovers of great literature and sophisticated fashion.
One of Spring 2017’s Top Ten Art, Architecture & Photography Books
“The book includes beautiful photographs, witty text and a passage from each writer’s work. Cover model Joan Didion is my style icon.”
“In this unique examination of legendary authors and their personal style, Newman provides rare intimacy with the likes of Beckett, Plath, Wilde, Donna Tartt and even Jacqueline Susann through anecdotes, archival photos, quotations and more.”
“I cannot put this book down; it is absolute joy. I have laughed out loud so many times and there are photos of my favourite authors I’ve never seen before. Highly recommended.”
“Fascinating…. Great idea by Terry Newman”
“The most counterintuitive book of the summer thus far…. [Newman’s] surprisingly convincing thesis is that the sartorial choices authors make are deeply connected to the narrative choices they make — or, as Beckett put it, ‘the fabric of language’ they use.”
“The style quirks of 49 authors, from…writers like Virginia Woolf and the Fitzgeralds to Samuel Beckett and Gay Talese (who has worn bespoke suits since childhood).”
“The connection between the wardrobes and viewpoints of legendary writers may not seem at all obvious on first glance, but rifle through their drawers, and personalities appear and evolve. In Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore, you’ll meet legendary authors who wore their hearts and words on their sleeves.”
“Newman explores the fascinating relationship between literary icons and fashion. She profiles 50 writers in her new book, examining their style choices in the greater context of their lives and bodies of work.”
“ …makes a good case for studying authors’ sartorial choices…a chance to discover whose understated ensemble matches their minimalist prose, or who dressed-down on the daily, saving their flair for the page.”
“’Where would fashion be without literature?’ Diana Vreeland once said. Somewhere far less interesting, contends Terry Newman in Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore. Because great writers are “originals,” their signature looks (like the minimalist flair of Newman’s cover girl, Joan Didion) have inspired designers through the ages.”
“A new book celebrates 50 of the most memorably stylish authors, from Oscar Wilde to Joan Didion. “Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore,” new from Terry Newman, offers gorgeous black-and-white photographs of writers who are as satisfying to look at as they are to read.”
“… Intricate and poignant … Newman’s immensely enjoyable book ranges from the 19th century to the present and rearranges the literary canon with abandon to illuminating and sometimes comic effect…. The juxtapositions are playful but not trivial. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the women and the gay men make the most interesting studies.”
“Didion and Knausgaard are among 50 writers whose style is explored in an engaging new book… Newman finds that clothing is a valuable form of self-expression: a strong look can take an author far beyond the cultural confines of the bookshelf.”
“Who knew there were so many snappily dressed authors? From Donna Tartt’s glamorous tailoring ...to Tom Wolfe’s attention seeking three piece white suits, they’re featured, in all their sartorial glory in a new book that scampers past the sturm and drang of the books to the important stuff: clothes.”
“The essence of Newman’s book — and what’s most intriguing — is the way in which she highlights how much writers’ real-life fashion choices reveal about their prose and personality.”
Rumpled writers are rarely associated with sartorial splendor, but this eye-opening peek into famous authors’ closets makes quite a fashion statement.
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