Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore
By Terry Newman
“The most counterintuitive book of the summer thus far…. [Newman’s] surprisingly convincing thesis is that the sartorial choices authors make are deeply connected to the narrative choices they make — or, as Beckett put it, ‘the fabric of language’ they use.” -Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times
Discover the signature sartorial and literary style of fifty men and women of letters, including Maya Angelou; Truman Capote; Colette; Bret Easton Ellis; Allen Ginsberg; Patti Smith; Karl Ove Knausgaard; and David Foster Wallace; in this unique compendium of profiles—packed with eighty black-and-white photographs, excerpts, quotes, and fast facts—that illuminates their impact on modern fashion.
Whether it’s Zadie Smith’s exotic turban, James Joyce’s wire-framed glasses, or Samuel Beckett’s Wallabees, a writer’s attire often reflects the creative and spiritual essence of his or her work. As a non-linear sensibility has come to dominate modern style, curious trendsetters have increasingly found a stimulating muse in writers—many, like Joan Didion, whose personal aesthetic is distinctly "out of fashion." For decades, Didion has used her work, both her journalism and experimental fiction, as a mirror to reflect her innermost emotions and ideas—an originality that has inspired Millennials, resonated with a new generation of fashion designers and cultural tastemakers, and made Didion, in her eighties, the face of Celine in 2015.
Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore examines fifty revered writers—among them Samuel Beckett; Quentin Crisp; Simone de Beauvoir; T.S. Eliot; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald; Malcolm Gladwell; Donna Tartt; John Updike; Oscar Wilde; and Tom Wolfe—whose work and way of dress bears an idiosyncratic stamp influencing culture today. Terry Newman combines illuminating anecdotes about authors and their work, archival photography, first-person quotations from each writer and current designers, little-known facts, and clothing-oriented excerpts that exemplify their original writing style.
Each entry spotlights an author and a signature wardrobe moment that expresses his or her persona, and reveals how it influences the fashion world today. Newman explores how the particular item of clothing or style has contributed to fashion’s lingua franca—delving deeper to appraise its historical trajectory and distinctive effect. Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore is an invaluable and engaging look at the writers we love—and why we love what they wear—that is sure to captivate lovers of great literature and sophisticated fashion.