Nina Garcia made a name as Editor-at-large of US Elle and judge on hit US TV show Project Runway. Her impeccable fashion credentials translate well in The Little Black Book of Style. She shares her style advises, principles and tips. As such, the book is mainly a self-help guide disguised by a lavish layout and brilliant illustrations. Ruben Toledo (husband of Isabel, of Inauguration outfit fame) drew the witty long-legged, perfectly groomed women accompanying each entry.
The book is split into six chapters and dedicates a large part to fashion history. It deciphers nine decades of fashion, stating both their significant, recognisable trends and their emblematic designers – a must guide for any vintage neophyte. There are also lists of well-dressed films and stylish musicians. Quotes from fashion icons tie the whole structure together. Garcia encourages you to be your own muse and awakens the fashion editor in you. Even if you don’t take her suggestions at face value, the book is inspirational.
Garcia’s writing is concise, clear and easy to navigate. And because no one should take advise from only one fashion professional, Garcia also interviewed the Who’s Who of US and European fashion, from Ralph Lauren (”Breaking rules is what makes fashion interesting”) to Christian Louboutin (every woman should owe “a classic black pump with a four-inch straight heel”).
If you are a regular and avid reader of fashion glossies, the book will teach you few things. If not, it is a mine of clever ideas, from how to ruthlessly edit your wardrobe to the importance of basics. In either case, it has good encyclopaedic and style credentials and the added soul of Toledo’s illustrations.
Review by Lucie Goulet.