Fashion and Design Book Obsession: Assouline Publishing

I adore fashion books. And as much as I adore shopping at small, local bookstores, I can't always find what I am looking for -- and I can't always wait for them to order it. My go-to source for the best of the high-end publications on luxury fashion, travel and art is the Assouline Publishing Web site. I first ran across the site on Melissa C. Morris's May-December blog. Morris blogs infrequently these days, but she is a wonderful source for preppy-chic design; I bookmarked Assouline after it popped up on her blog, and have been a fan ever since.

I started by shopping their fashion book collection, but the site has become one of my daily online destinations for all things design and style, including art, photography, interior design and even gift-giving and holiday shopping. This is a beautiful Web site, delivering beautiful products, about beautiful subjects -- j'adore!

Assouline Fashion

The latest collection to catch my eye is the Dior three-book set by Caroline Bongrand and Jérôme Hanover. Three jacketed hard covers (240 pages) for just $75, it's a must for any Dior lover. Seventy-five dollars may seem like a lot of money for three books of photographs, but consider that price against Assouline's $550 Limited Edition American Dior, linen-bound, 168-page book. The 60-year anniversary edition -- Dior, 60th Anniversary -- comes in at a much more affordable $250.

Assouline covers a range of famous fashion names, from Chanel to Lacoste, to Diane von Furstenberg and Lanvin. In addition to books that focus on a single design house, they also offer books on costumes, geishas and bikinis...and even Barbie gets her own book. (Or maybe especially Barbie -- the Barbie deluxe edition is a whopping $695.)

On my wish list: Hitchcock Style by Jean-Pierre Dufreigne, $45

Queen's Jewels by Vincent Meylan, $75

Assouline Design and Architecture

Assouline's selection of design and architecture books is much more affordable than those in the fashion section. With the exception of one $695 Oscar Niemeyer tome (handmade, linen-covered, color-tipped by hand on art-quality paper), the art and design section is priced between $25 and $150.

On my wish list: Vatican by Dominique Chivot, $65

Charlotte Moss: A Flair for Living by Pieter Esthersohn, $65

This Memorial Day Weekend I reread Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie to accompany my Chanel three-book set ($75).

Author's note: For those who prefer shopping locally, Brazos Bookstore on Bissonnet has a good selection of fashion, design and art to choose from, and they are wonderful about taking special orders.

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Christina Uticone