Six Fashion Journalism Summer Books from an Aspiring Writer

Ever feeling bored when sunbathing on the beach? If you’re interested in fashion journalism, carry these books in your backpack.


By Giulia Piceni. Cover image: Margaret Michem for I’M Firenze Digest.

Ever feeling bored when sunbathing on the beach? Check these Summer fashion journalism books an aspiring writer recommends to all readers interested in fashion journalism.
After hearing it for the umpteenth time, the repetitive melody of the latest summer hit can be a little boring.
When your AirPods run out of battery, when sudoku and crosswords are too challenging to play in the heat and when you have to elude the water areobics class to which the hotel animation staff is forcing you to attend, here is the solution.
From biographies of fashion icons to manuals for learning to write, here are pages that will totally ravish you. Enjoy!
The first three fashion books we recommend have strong narratives that will simultaneously educate and entertain the reader; their pages are the best companions while sunbathing.
You’ll be entirely absorbed – just remember to reapply your sunscreen every now and then!
The fourth book centres around the ever-growing practice of curating fashion applied to the specific case of Italian heritage.
Summer is the perfect time of the year to focus on mastering your skills, and if it’s writing you want to perfect, then hear me out: the last two suggestions are manuals to improve your writing. 

1. Gods and Kings by Dana Thomas

Written by a fashion writer and journalist whose fame does justice to her outstanding prose, this book follows the rise and fall of the greatest geniuses of the last century: Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.
From the beginnings to their rise to fame, from London to Paris, the book delves deep into the lives of the two fashion designers.
As you read, you’ll become familiar with the pinnacles of fashion creativity and the challenges faced by the designer in a system that demands superhuman efforts: burnout is right around the corner. 
So, if you’ve left behind this big classic, you’d better start straight away from chapter one! 

2. Dressed for War by Julie Summers

Fashion could be described as an unstoppable mechanism that functions through a series of interconnected and divergent gears: a game of joints that cannot stop, even in the face of challenging situations.
Dressed for War revolves around this precise aspect: even during one of the cruellest armed combat of the twentieth century, in between bombing alarms and precarious life conditions, the staff of British Vogue and its Editor in Chief Audrey Withers found the strength to go on with publishing the magazine.

Mentioning influential photographers such as Lee Miller and Cecil Beaton and providing insights on how a culturally-impactful issue is made, this anecdotal chronicle appears more contemporary than ever, especially given the current political climate marred by the tragedy of ongoing armed conflicts. 

3. D.V. by Diana Vreeland 

Diana Vreeland, an extravagant character, journalist, fashion editor and curator, celebrated beauty in all its forms. She can still inspire today’s stylists with her unique way of dressing; as this biography proves, she was also an incredible writer.

Biographies typically have a documentaristic approach, faithfully reporting all the milestones that have made a person’s existence outstanding. Well, forget all this when opening this book: in D.V., the borders between real life and whimsical anecdotes of the Newyorkese high society blur in fanciful prose. What is true, and what is invented? 

4. Curating Italian Fashion: Heritage, Industry, Institutions by Matteo Augello 

Italy has made a name for itself in fashion, from the opulent attire at De’ Medici court to the 80s  Made in Italy trend. However, it’s surprising that this creative industry is not as highly valued in Italy as in other countries where culture is a fundamental element. 

Scholar Matteo Augello, also known as Miss Bella Bird, provides an extensive guide to Italian fashion curation through archival records and existing literature.
This is an excellent resource for students interested in the intersection of art curation and fashion!

5. Fashion Criticism: An Anthology by Francesca Granata 

Often overlooked and dismissed as a B-series intellectual occupation, fashion criticism certainly deserves to be regarded with more respect, especially now, with social media like TikTok and Instagram, expressing one’s opinions about fashion shows through short videos has become (unfairly) associated with journalism.

In this sense, Fashion Criticism: An Anthology aims to introduce readers to prominent figures in fashion criticism from the dawn of this journalistic field. A true must-read!

6. Insights on Fashion Journalism by Rosie Findlay, Johannes Reponen

What are the challenges that fashion journalism has to face today? This book is divided into three sections that delve into the critical role of media in our society, the socio-political and cultural contexts in which they evolve, and the importance of using the right language in different situations.

An essential read for those interested in cultural studies and new fashion-related media.

Giulia Piceni is an Undergraduate Arts Curating student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze. 

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