As fun as last year’s array of coffee table books were, 2021’s prospective publishing slate looks even more promising. The art of books that are as much fun to look at as they are to read simply cannot be overstated; mixing aesthetic and literary charm in a subtle balancing act, the right coffee table book says much about its owner. Are they witty? Chic? Edgy? Simply look down at their tabletop to find out.
So, what kind of book-shaped space needs filling on your coffee table this year? Maybe you’re sorely lacking in the industrial design canon, or are just keeping your eyes peeled for an illustrated manifesto to a given legendary model’s body of work. Whether your tastes skew niche or mainstream this year, we invite you to peruse this list and find a tome for your home—and long may it be oversized and glossy.
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Cipullo: Making Jewelry Modern
This edition collects Aldo Cipullo’s most striking jewellery in one glorious fell swoop, bound in a linen hardcover with metal plaque in a luxury slipcase. An iconic and enigmatic mid-century designer who found his life’s calling developing a new vocabulary of jewellery-making at places like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier, Cipullo’s legacy of forward-thinking yet classic designs remain perennially popular.
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Naty Abascal: The Eternal Muse Inspiring Fashion Designers
Model, muse, stylist, and fashion icon—Natividad “Naty” Abascal is all of these things. This book explores the relationship between mirror, dress, designer, and photography, presenting a handpicked selection of designs by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta, Elie Saab, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. Witness the evolution of the grand old ateliers and the designers housed within them, alongside Abascal’s own growth—all are an indelible part of fashion history.
Naty Abascal: The Eternal Muse Inspiring Fashion Designers will be released by Rizzoli in March, 2021
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Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers
A barn, a temple, a hollowed-out theatre of the old world—their only commonality are the stories housed within them. Literally; photographer Horst A. Friedrichs opens the door to the world of bricks-and-mortar bookstores hidden within all kinds of quirky and lavish locations. Peppering the book with the idiosyncratic thoughts of the individuals who run these literary havens, Friedrichs has compiled a magical journey for the reader.
Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers will be released by Prestel in March, 2021.
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Bill Cunningham Was There: Spring Flings + Summer Soirées
Cunningham, who passed away in 2016, was a celebrated New York Times photographer who captured the vitality of high society’s spring and summer events. From the showstopping ladies’ hats worn at the annual Central Park Conservancy luncheons to the gorgeous gowns sweeping the dance floors of tented galas in Newport, Cunningham shot them all. And now, for the first time, they’re all here in one place, situated within a heartfelt insiders’ tribute to a photojournalism legend.
Bill Cunningham Was There: Spring Flings + Summer Soirées will be released by Rizzoli in March, 2021.
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Water, Wood, and Wild Things
Years ago, Brooklynite Hannah Kirshner received an invitation to apprentice with a “saké evangelist” in a misty Japanese mountain village called Yamanaka. A writer and food stylist, Kirshner got to know the master woodturners, hunters, artists, and farmers who made up the community there. What goes into a fine bowl, a cup of tea, or a harvest of rice? Kirshner will show you, taking readers deep into evergreen forests, terraced rice fields, and smoke-filled workshops alike.
Water, Wood, and Wild Things: Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain Town will be released by Viking in March, 2021.
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Her Dior: Maria Grazia Chiuri’s New Voice
This book makes up a powerful collection of photographs and essays by the trailblazing women who came up alongside and were inspired by Maria Grazia Chiuri. See photographs shot by Coco Capitán, Vanina Sorrenti, Julia Hetta, Sarah Moon, and many, many more—and hear from writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Linda Nochlin, Claire Fontaine, to name but a few. You won’t want to miss this celebration of the first female creative director of Dior.
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Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960
Charting the evolution of women’s sporting attire over nearly two centuries, this book plucks garments from the collections of Coco Chanel, Claire McCardell, and Jean Patou, among many others. See women enter the sporting world in real time, walking freely and unrestricted. Never before have the garments that defined women’s roles as both spectators and athletes been presented on this scale, and in such intimate detail.
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Dear Elio: A Marvellous Journey into the World of Fiorucci
Italian fashion designer and the founder of the Fiorucci fashion label, Elio Fiorucci was a world unto himself. Unfold this world for yourself, as recounted by those who took part in his unique fashion adventure. His conception of unconventional clothing upset the rules of the bourgeois, conformist world of the 1960s, introducing a flavour of curiosity and joy unparalleled in the fashion world to this day. It is a “choral fresco,” told through the letters of those who knew him best and worked closely alongside him.
Dear Elio: A Marvellous Journey into the World of Fiorucci will be published by Rizzoli in March, 2021.
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Notes on Decor, Etc.
That legendary Laurel Canyon home will live on in infamy in the pages of this book, which chronicles the rise of Londonite Paul Fortune—his transplant to Los Angeles and his career as a graphic artist, art director of music videos, and even nightclub owner. Before anything else, however, he was an illustrious interior designer. Straight out of the hallowed halls of the Fortune Design Studio, Notes on Decor, Etc. is a one-of-a-kind story about a one-of-a-kind artist.
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A timelessly elegant project is this new reading of Warhol, presenting his life’s works in the context of his contemporary concerns. Warhol undoubtedly marked a period of cultural transformation even as he dynamically sought to innovate the advertising, fashion, film, and music landscapes—but its his background and his ideas that most inform this new book. See his successes and his failures alike hard-coded—and immortalised—into this tome.
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By Design: The World's Best Contemporary Interior Designers
A comprehensive showcase of the most exceptional and groundbreaking interior designers working today, By Design surveys the global landscape to find out what makes our sense of creativity tick. It does this by taking a good hard look at the best of the best; see the works of designers out of Norm Architects, Romanek Design Studio, Studioilse, Studio KO, Studio Shamshiri, and more realised like never before in the pages of this book.
By Design: The World’s Best Contemporary Interior Designers will be published by Phaidon in April, 2021.
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The subtitle to this one is a mouthful: Inspiring Projects to Create Plus Plant Care Tips & Styling Ideas for Your Own Wild Interior. Dubbed the “LeBron James of plant styling,” Hilton Carter more than justifies it, showing how you can make, style, decorate, and care for your own stunning plant-inspired interior with his 25 step-by-step DIY projects and plant hacks. Want to absolutely bedeck your own home in creeping ivy and mossy terraniums? Now you can.
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Come Fly with Me: Flying in Style
Miss jet-setting in style? We have a solution: reminisce the glory days of your own travels by pouring over only the most glamorous glimpses of the rich and famous from the past. Frank Sinatra dressed to the nines. Rihanna catwalking the halls incognito. John and Yoko waving from the airstairs. Come Fly with Me is a wistful love letter to the joys of flying and fashion, all curated by renowned Rolling Stone photo editor Jodi Peckman.
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Revamp your living situation with the artful stylings of famed and award-winning interiors blogger Lisa Dawson. Avoid waste and declutter your spaces (along with your mind) by drawing from her helpful ideas and clever tips. From guides for thrifting to reimagining each room in your home, Resourceful Living is a no-nonsense manifesto to making your house a home.
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Little Book of Yves Saint Laurent
Before Yves Saint Laurent elevated haute couture to fine art, and before he turned the fashion show into a spectacle of breathtaking proportions, he was a little boy growing up in Algeria. Then he was a transcendent fashion student, destined for the right hand of Christian Dior. Tracing the life of the man behind the esteemed fashion house, Little Books of Yves Saint Laurent documents in painstaking detail the tale and talent of the visionary who revolutionised the fashion world forever.