It is definitely hard, even in our digital age, not to have a fascination with books: they are solid and tangible entities, but they are also the key to imaginary and undiscovered worlds and characters; they are loyal friends and offer company whenever you need it and, well, they don't need to be recharged and they don't buzz every three seconds to alert you about a message or email.
The list of famous book lovers is extremely long and, as proved by an exhibition entitled "Warhol by the Book" that toured different museums last year, the artist loved experimenting with books and publishing.
That exhibition featured Warhol's book projects from his student days to his years as a commercial artist and included unfinished works, original drawings, photographs, screen prints, manuscripts, self-published books and a pop-up "children's book for hipsters" featuring sound recordings, holograms, and a do-it-yourself nose job, in a nutshell a series of materials that revealed his creative processes.
Warhol embraced a bit of everything, from crime novels and romantic fiction to instructional how-tos and sales catalogues, hand-coloured artist's books and colouring books, as well as mass-market books about his country, celebrity friends, and parties.
He contributed to more than eighty projects for books, often acting as author, designer, illustrator, promoter, and publisher, and, though he claimed not to read, he left a private library that included many rare and significant volumes.
Christie's is currently holding an auction (until 2nd August) of Warhol's studies for well-known books, such as In the Bottom of My Garden and Wild Raspberries, as well as a rare Lips book. You can browse and bid now on images that capture a different side of the complex Pop icon, with estimates starting at $1,200.
So far the most expensive lot is the one for Lips (starting at $26,000), followed by the complete book of 20 offset lithographs for In the Bottom of My Garden (starting at $20,000), but there are slightly "more affordable" materials for (wealthy) fashionistas including a lithograph for A la Recherche du Shoe Perdu or pastel coloured stationery for Bergdorf Goodman.
Too expensive, you say, but still looking for some fun books linked with fashion? Check out the new editions of seminal tales by Beatrix Potter.
Five books by the author were indeed recently republished by Penguin Random House Children to celebrated the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter's birth.
For the occasion the publishing house commissioned five new covers to fashion designers (the actual content remains untouched). Henry Holland's big and bold letters reminiscent of his iconic T-shirts appear on The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck; The Tale of Mrs.Tiggy-Winkle now boasts a geometric cover by Orla Kiely while Preen reinterpreted the cover for The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin in a floral key.
The Rodnik Band stole and adapted Mondrian for The Tale of Tom Kitten, and the Cats Brothers gave a rebellious street-wise look to The Tale of Peter Rabbit, changing his blue jacket into a denim one with cool patches (well, Potter dressed her animals in actual clothes, so take it as an update on Peter's wardrobe...).
Beatrix Potter's purists may dismiss the cool and fresher "Fashion Designer Collection" of these titles as "children's book for hipsters", but, surprisingly, some of these covers look much better than recent fashion collections/designs by some of these creative minds. In a way, if any of them ever dropped out of fashion to get a career in books as graphic designers, the loss of the fashion world would be the gain of the publishing industry.
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