For many of us growing up, summer book reports were a chore, a school-enforced edict that took time away from splashing around poolside or hanging out with our coterie. But little did we know that flipping through the pages of novels like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” would open our eyes to possibilities and teach us to look at the world through different vantage points. Or maybe you did, and were just ahead of the curve.
Either way, reading a book has become a welcome respite from our grueling work schedules. We can use them to escape into a world unlike our own and refuel our creative juices. And those in the fashion industry certainly agree.
The most celebrated designers, buyers and brand ambassadors take advantage of the sunny months, when their vacation days are ripe for the picking, to get their hands on the latest bestseller or how-to guide. From tales about lamas to instructional manuals on how to succeed in business, the sartorial set, evidently, are always looking to delve deep into the written word for sources of inspiration.
And luckily for everyone, there isn’t a book report due in September—unless, of course, you count these summer reading recommendations below. (shop them at the end of this story)
Inès de la Fressange, Brand Ambassador of Roger Vivier
“Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda.
“This book is about lamas in Himalaya and their incredible experiences. The book is thick but you read it like a novel. It brings you calm and wisdom. And who doesn’t need that!?”
Photo credit: Roger Vivier
Cecilia Bönström, Artistic Director of Zadig & Volatiare
“Pamela” by Stéphanie des Horts; “Promise at Dawn” by Romain Gary.
“The story of this woman makes me smile because she is so free in her choice of life and lovers. I will also read the book by Romain Gary called ‘La Promesse de l’aube,’ since I saw the movie with the amazing Charlotte Gainsbourg. It’s about a mother educating and pushing her son with such unconditional love. It makes me think introspectively, as I am a mother of three sons.”
Photo credit: Zadig & Voltaire
Billy Reid, Designer
“Selling Dreams: How to Make Any Product Irresistible” by Gian Luigi Longinotti-Buitoni.
“I actually read the unedited version of this book when I first started in business 20 years ago. It’s very much a work-related read, but I feel it is a subtle reminder of the importance of knowing yourself and positioning your storytelling to support your intentions.”
Photo credit: Billy Reid
Jennifer Fisher, Jewelry Designer
“On Emotional Intelligence” by Harvard Business Review.
“This summer I am—finally—taking a vacation and plan on bringing Harvard Business Review’s ‘On Emotional Intelligence’ with me. I have learned overtime that it is very important to trust your instinct and your gut in big decisions—both personally and in business. As my business grows, it is necessary to spend time focusing on this. HBR’s ‘On Emotional Intelligence’ is a must-read for anyone that is running their own company in order to effectively manage and channel success.”
Photo credit: Jennifer Fisher
Marin Hopper, Designer of Hayward
“Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with Photographs” by Bill Cunningham.
“I hear it is great. Loved Bill so much—can’t get enough of him and can’t wait to read it.”
Photo credit: Ball and Albanese
Stephen Webster, Jewelry Designer
“The Extreme Life of the Sea” by Stephen Palumbi and Anthony Pulumbi; “Watling Street: Travels Through Britain and Its Ever-Present Past” by John Higgs.
“My preferred genre of book reading material is fiction. I love a good story, either rooted in real life situations or total fantasy. This holiday reading season, I have changed tactics: I have two books ready to read, both fact and non-fiction.
The first is a dramatization of the lives of those dwelling below the water line: ‘The Extreme Life of the Sea,’ which is co-authored by marine scientist brothers Stephen and Anthony Palumbi. The book tells the real-life stories of many of the oldest and most adapted life forms in existence. Everyday is one of survival, whether as a perfect killing machine predator or the ever-ingenious prey. This year, I launched my own book featuring a cast of underwater characters: ‘Fish Tales.’ I couldn't resist buying ‘The Extreme Life of the Sea’ as soon as I read the review in the New York Times. The second book I have is also factual: ‘Watling Street’ by author John Higgs.
‘Watling Street’ is the name of one of the oldest roads in Britain.”
Photo credit: Stephen Webster
Rebecca Taylor, Designer
“My Dear Hamilton” by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie.
“I love reading about history and learning about how the United States we know today was born. It’s fascinating to learn how our political system was born and shaped into what it is today.”
Photo credit: Rebecca Taylor