Fashion
Comments 9

Know What to Memoir

memoir booksMan-Repeller-Book-Signing-at-Holt-Renfrew-Toronto-5 grace coddington memoir1 alexa chung itJust like every other coffee-table-book girl, I run to the arms of the nearest commercial bookstore every time a new “must have” book gets released. If I can manage to avoid the souvenir jungle, I usually end up buying at least one book – which is always a hard choice since there are hundreds of fashion – art – photography books to choose from and let’s face it, they are NOT cheap. Unless you’ve read reviews somewhere, the buying criteria is – in descending order – price, how much publicity it had, how good the cover looks, how many images there are inside… Since it’s impossible to read honest reviews of these books on your daily websites, I ended up buying the above displayed 3 books – not at the same time. The results were : 1) hilarious! 2) wow, what a life… and 3) wtf did i just read?! To see which is which (if you haven’t guessed already) please click through…

I admit, I have tons of fashion books some of which I haven’t even opened the cover. I buy them either because for some reason I think they would be good for my intellectual profundity, my profession, or just look good on my bookcase. They are mostly about new designers, fashion buying (it was my thesis subject) visual merchandising, vintage (I have a lot of books about the eras of fashion) jewelry making etc. But it wasn’t until I bought “Seeking love, finding overalls” from Leandra Medine that I dove in the world of memoirs. I hesitated before buying it, was I being a victim of popular culture by spending my money on a blogger’s book instead of a world classic? Was it not enough just reading her blog and looking at her photos? Apparently not, and not even the mocking of my husband stopped me, and boy am I glad it didn’t. I’ve been a fan of Leandra since before her Bloglovin award days, since her ‘thematic repelling’ and ‘who wore it better’ or ‘guess the blogger’ posts (I still laugh frantically when I think of the post where she made an imitation of Karla Deras). I know that she has a major in journalism, which is evident in her blog posts that always crack me up, so I figured reading a little more about her life – written by herself – should be a lot of fun and inspiring.

Well it was more than that actually, reading about the bumpy and hilarous way leading her to the crazy self success was surely enlightening but the stories about her relationship with her older brother and her weight loss, her wedding day, the year in Paris, failure at relationships and how she coped with them all told by way of fashion and significant pieces of clothing was purely genious. It is truly amazing that a 25 year old person’s life could be such a page-turner. For me, she is not just the girl that found a name to the style that we somehow couldn’t define or the girl that changed the face of fashion blogging, but she is the girl who broke the taboo that you have to be (or at least act like you’re) perfect if you want to belong in the fashion industry. This book is a great read, completely sincere and utterly amusing.

man repeller seeking love finding overalls

man repeller, seeking love finding overallsGrace Coddington’s Memoir, eventually, was the second memoir I read. I wasn’t expecting this to be funny nor did I hoped to connect with Grace on the same level I did with Leandra but I was hoping to read a book about an amazingly talented woman who managed to stay anonymus for a long time – or as we call her, the woman who can stand up to Anna Wintour without hesitation. To be honest it isn’t such a suspenseful book, not one that you can’t sleep without finishing one chapter. It is just an autobiography starting from little baby Grace in England, including all the glam of the fashion world and all the tragedies she faced during her lifetime, her love for cats and how she secretly (in my opinion) fancies being famous now. Though it is truly informative and impressive. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone, but everybody who works / wants to work in fashion should read it. I must add that it is personalized by Grace’s very own drawings and photos, spreaded throughout the book.

Grace Coddington, Outside Ralph Laurengrace coddington memoirAnd Alexa Chung’s “it”. The book that we’ve been seeing everywhere for the last few months, on the “must read” lists everywhere, the small eye on the pink cover looking at us through every Pinterest board possible. The real reason I wanted to write this post and inform people because I wish someone else had done it before I spent my precious dollars on it. For those of you who just quickly scan the writings I’m going to be straight: DO NOT BUY IT. After having so much fun reading Leandra’s book, I figured a girl like Alexa could possibly have a lot of fun stuff to talk about. Not at least her relationship with Alex Turner, how she became so famous, something about music, how she makes her fashion choices. I don’t know something, anything personal that you can only get from her (other than all the photos and drawings that take up %90 of the book, presented without any information so most of the time you wonder who the hell that person is).

In terms of literariness, it is really poor. I am not a native English speaker and there wasn’t one word or sentence that I had a hard time understanding. The language is simple and shallow at times. There is no harmony in between stories, nor there is any plot line in one story. Actually I don’t think that there are “stories” at all, just some sketches. The things she were inspired from were Spice Girls (ok), Mick Jagger (really Alexa?), Twiggy, Kate Moss (I’m serious), some films like Leon, Annie Hall, The Royal Tenenbaums and the list goes on as expected. She talks about when she puts on cateye make up, when she sprays her hair and what you should expect and not expect when going to a music festival (because we have never been to one before). The only personal-ish part is where she talks about her heartache after a break up (who she broke up with, of course, remains anonymus) and that again doesn’t include any information other than “I was sad, I asked my mom, she said something to me, and now I feel better”. Sure it feels good to know that even famous, super cool girls suffer from break up but it doesn’t have any more emotional depth than reading US Weekly and seeing celebrities in super markets.

At times it almost makes you smile a little, but then the story ends and you’re back to where you were. It took me 1 hour to finish the book (and I really went through all photos) and at the end all I thought was, what the hell? Why did I spend my money on this, with which I could have a decent meal  instead? I know that I should think of it as a coffee table book and not a novel,  but this doesn’t please me either way. Please do not go with the flow and feel like you have to own it because everybody says you should, sure you can put it in your home if you find it for free or something. Afterall the cover is really good.

(And if you think that I didn’t like it because I’m not cool enough, here is proof that Camille Charrière, the ever cool half French half English blogger and fashion writer, disliking it in the best possible way…)

alexa chung italexa chung itimage sources: pinterest, myself

9 Comments

  1. Edgy Eggs says

    I saw Grace Coddington speak at a conference last year and I was blown away. I immediately bought her book and was in awe the whole time I read it. Coincidentally, Man Repeller and Alexa are my next reads! Enjoy! xo

  2. Edgy Eggs says

    Sorry I completely didnt see your paragraph about it, Im going to go back and read it haha. Thanks for the advice!

  3. So grateful for this post! Thank you! I love fashion books in general and I was wondering if I should buy Alexa Chung’s book, but know you convinced me – there are so many more and better books. Even so, I added the first two on my wish list:)

  4. thanks so much for this post!! I have been wondering what all the hype was about when it comes to Alexa Chung’s book, it seems impossible that she would have enough interesting stories to tell, or observations to make, to fill a whole book. Glad to hear that I was right in not buying it. Definitely going to try Leandra Medine’s though! I just wish it looked as pretty on my coffee table as Alexa Chung’s..

  5. Reblogged this on Senseless acts of beauty… and commented:
    I did find a few interesting bits and bobs in Alexa Chung’s ‘IT’ book and it is a lovely book to look at but overall it hasn’t had the best reviews in the world. It’s a competitive market this fashionista coffee table book one… I want to love it and there are many inspiring images but I just felt it lacked detail and everything could’ve been explained so much better!

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