Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Monday, December 21, 2009 12:00 PM EDT
A beautiful design book is such a treat; great for inspiration in choosing styles, colours and room plans, and it's always welcome on a coffee table. I myself have quite a few of these hardcover treasures, one of my favourite things being a slow poring-over of a design book in a comfy chair with a warm tea, sans husband and baby (though I love them very much.) It's the type of thing most people wouldn't buy for themselves but would love to receive, and they're surprisingly affordable -- many are under $50 and most are under $100. Even if you can't get your hands on the following (though they're all widely available), give the design section at your local book store a good peruse and I'm sure it'll yield some gems. This is a last-minute saver!
Hot Off the Presses: Kelly Wearstler's HUE
Mrs. Wearstler is a super-successful American interior designer known for her particular brand of colour-explosive, glamour-saturated interiors. Her work includes Viceroy resorts from California to the Caribbean; BG restaurant and lounge in Manhattan's Bergdorf Goodman; and countless exclusive properties. She was a judge on Bravo's Top Design and her work has appeared in a zillion highbrow design magazines. She has two previous books -- Domicilium Decoratus and Modern Glamour -- and this, HUE, is her latest.
An Education in Design: Andree Putman: The Complete Works
Style: Baroque glam meets Hollywood Regency with a dash of surrealism. AKA: Kelly Wearstler.
- Your loved one will like it if: They're outgoing, love colour, love to make a statement, are a dreamer.
One of Sarah Richardson's inspirations, this interior design icon is many a designer's muse. Parisian Andree Putman has been working for nearly half a century, and is arguably contemporary design's most influential figure. She's credited with co-authoring the 'boutique hotel' with Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell (Studio 54) by designing the first of its kind; Morgans Hotel, NYC. Among innumerable achievements, her work includes the flagship stores of fashion houses such as Yves St. Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Terry Mugler and Cartier. This woman is the foundation of contemporary affluent design and this latest book entails her most important works.
- Style: Western design erudition personified /boutique chic
- Your loved one will like it if: They're really into interior design and want to learn something of its history, they love a restrained look, are into minimalist luxury.
- Damage: $65
The People's Choice: The Private World of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berg
LOVE this book. Got it for my birthday, and have since noticed it popping up all over; my friends' houses, design stores, best seller lists, back of design magazines. All this to say that it's a huge hit, and I can see why. The late fashion designer and institution, Yves Saint Laurent, is one of the most intriguing and fascinating style figures in the fashion world. In this book we get a first-time look into his exclusive world -- through countless estates all over the world. I've pored over this book a few times already, and what I find most fascinating is how so much of what we think to be new, is simply a rehashing of the old. There on the pages are the mirrored side tables mixed in with Moroccan inlay bureaus and gilt mirrors of the likes of Style at Home and House and Home, except the photos date from the 1970s. Fascinating!
- Style: The original eclectic mix of old and new.
- Your loved one will like it if: They're into fashion, love a trip around the world villa by villa, are secret fans of The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
- Damage: $81.50
For the Magazine Lover: Elle Decor's Style and Substance
Elle Decor magazine is lauded as the foremost authority on interior style and decorating trends and this freshly minted pretty picture book is a great anthology of what they do best: style and substance. From cover to cover it's pretty, pretty, pretty! Plus, it's not simply aspirational or even inspirational, but full of great ideas you can take home. A perfect gift for someone about to renovate or do any type of overhaul, or for that magazine fiend, as this is the creme de la creme of the 20 years the magazine has been around.
- Style: Sophisticated trend-setter
- Your loved one will like it if: They love decor magazines, especially Elle Decor, they're about to renovate/redecorate
- Damage: $35
Can't Go Wrong: Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People
Vogue, New York publisher Conde Nast's founding publication, needs no introduction. Style chroniclers and taste makers since the 1920s, you can just imagine the kind of things, places and people the magazine has seen. Well, this here book is a snippet of some of that good life over the past two decades, including not only homes and gardens but their owners and their stories. Including some never before seen images of prominent artists, business people and glitterati this book became an instant favourite when first published in 2007. If you're so inclined, a followup entitled People, Parties, Places was published earlier this year.
- Style: Personal/continental
- Your loved one will like it if: They enjoy celebrity culture, they love a peek in other people's homes.
- Damage: $65