Coffee Tables Books That Do and Don’t Deliver

I’ve had my eye on this new puppy, being that fits in perfectly with my art and design coffee table book addiction in subject matter and so forth. But until I can thumb through it, I am wary. What if it doesn’t live up to my standards? Granted my standards might not be everyone’s, but I expect a bang for my buck.

As an artist I expect good photos — lots of photos, but the writing has to be there too. Here are books from my collection I think were worth it, and some that fell flat in my expectations.

Happy Times. Oh Lee, you gloss over everything and the photos aren’t even that good or well produced. The only thing cute is the illustrations from the book you did with Jackie.

The Fashion Book. Odd choices of photos to represent various brands, models, and designers. Maybe the reproduction rights for certain photos were too much, but really, it tends to bore except for a few highlights here and there.

Dictator Style. Small, bad photo reproductions, and not enough of a visual sampling considering the subject matter.

Bright Young Things. You wonder why some of these people were chosen, let alone many photos don’t even show off their pad. There are a few good ones here and there, but it is spotty.  The profile on Serena Alschul, for instance, just shows her in front of a concrete wall because her apartment hadn’t even been finished yet!

A Privileged Life. Jayne Wrightsman is referred to as Jane — enough said.

Pad Parties. This one falls flat and has a bunch of things you’d probably never get around to actually doing, as opposed to the first book, where there was something for everyone.

Books that DO deliver…

Galliano. Need I say more? A good overview of his process, inspirations, important collections from school onward + part bio and philosophies behind staying true to the Dior tradition.

Over The Top. Just get it, even if you’ve never cared for her style or heard of her in the first place, just get it! Jewels, interiors, art collections, and old beauty treatments in gorgeous photos.

Design: Intelligence made visible. The motherload for any designer no matter what the product.

In the Kennedy Style. A good range of photos; Tish Baldrige writing in her usual style of name dropping that manages to be fun; anecdotes about various events, and recipes you can actually make at home that are easy.

100 Years of Fashion Illustration. Every kind you can imagine from every time period. A thick book with good reproductions.

Pad. A fun peek into various homes of L.A. creatives, it has resources and DIY projects as well. It makes me wanna do more stuff to my apartment every time I flip through it.

The Marchesa Casati. I talked about this before, but it’s a very comprehensive memoir and photo book of her and the art she commissioned from the days before she became what she was, and the inspiration she left after her death for designers of all kinds. The authors were clearly very passionate about this subject.

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26 Responses to “Coffee Tables Books That Do and Don’t Deliver”


  1. 2 Heidi Alamanda 11/20/2010 at 4:18 pm

    Marchesa book looks interesting. Thanks for reviewing these books. I like fashion and design related books, but sometimes I have no idea whether the photos are good or not.

  2. 3 vendettabella 11/20/2010 at 5:20 pm

    Yes the photo reproductions are always hit and miss even as far as resolution sometimes. Heck, even my art books that have the same painting vary in color depending on who did the layout and what printer or paper they used.

    btw, just got “The EllEments of Personal Style” by Elle Mag, and it is FABULOUS. It isn’t a coffee table book per se, but it meets my requirements.

  3. 4 Nick Weiss 11/23/2010 at 2:55 pm

    Please consider posted something about art, no one cares about your retared books, or maybe try becoming a little less annoying and ge oof your ass and do some work

    • 5 vendettabella 11/23/2010 at 3:02 pm

      Well “Nick”,

      If design and fashion aren’t art, then I don’t know what is. Perhaps you should look around the rest of the blog to see I post about it often. I’d love to get off my ass and do some work (clearly you spend your time very wisely), but it is kind of hard being that I’ve been in bed for 2 months; I had part of my thigh removed due to the fact I NEARLY DIED OF CANCER RECENTLY.

      • 6 Shannon 11/23/2010 at 3:31 pm

        Yes, Nick — what exactly have you contributed to the art world recently? As Arabella’s studiomate, and someone who’s witnessed how much SHE’S contributed to the local and national art world, I’m disgusted by your flippant, and frankly idiotic comment.

        Get off YOUR ass and stop reading blogs if you’re so easily offended!

      • 7 Nick 11/23/2010 at 4:58 pm

        Did you lose all your hair? There are people far worse off than you and it sickens me that you would be so self-centered to even say you nearly died. Unfortunatly, there are some people who cannot get a tumor removed, they cannot walk again, and sometimes they die. Wake up, your not dead

      • 8 vendettabella 11/23/2010 at 5:14 pm

        Wow, you truly are a piece of shit.
        btw the way brainiac, when a tumor is removed, that doesn’t mean the cancer is gone.
        Amazing. Simply amazing.

    • 9 Cookbook 11/23/2010 at 6:32 pm

      Nick, you obviously have no idea what goes on when people are diagnosed with/treated for cancer. Losing one’s hair isn’t a sign of how serious the disease is, it’s a side effect of just one kind of treatment. Cancer patients come in all shapes and sizes. It is always an awful thing to have to deal with, no matter what.

      I wonder how you would feel if you were diagnosed with the very same thing — if you knew that regardless of the outcome, your life would never be the same. I’ll bet you would be terrified and angry. I know I would be.

      I know I am largely feeding a troll here, but don’t be so callous.

  4. 10 Veronica 11/23/2010 at 3:21 pm

    Nick, design is art, fashion is design.
    These kind of books are just interesting addition to art and popular culture.
    If you don’t like her blogs, don’t read them.

  5. 12 Cookbook 11/23/2010 at 3:29 pm

    What Veronica AND Bella said. Plus, I find that if I like an artist’s work it’s always interesting to know what they’re currently inspired by — and very often, it’s coffee table books or expensive chandeliers or whatever. You can sometimes learn things from others!

  6. 14 elle 11/23/2010 at 4:04 pm

    I find incoherent blog comments with improper use of punctuation offensive & annoying. It is a wonderful thing that Nick must not work in any literary capacity, so we need not worry about him becoming an unemployed editor.

  7. 15 Nick 11/23/2010 at 4:51 pm

    “Sha nay nay”

    What have you contibuted besides some shitty ass yarn that nobody wants, besides nearly dead people who will probly die before they ever get to use it? If possible please consider losing some pounds, Arabellas getting very angry that your taking up all of her studio space.

    • 16 Shannon 11/23/2010 at 5:27 pm

      Last I checked, I’d published 13 books, been on TV, edited a monthly print magazine and taught all over the country. What exactly have you done again?

      • 17 goth aid 11/23/2010 at 5:43 pm

        She DJs at a station that 5 people can pick up on a clear day and has been fired from more jobs than anyone in the history of Cleveland

    • 18 Saint T 11/23/2010 at 5:50 pm

      Wow, Nick. You aren’t by chance a 40-year old washed-up paranoid pothead troll in an artists’ loft, are you? The only thing that seems to be missing from your comments is multi-colored text.

      Seriously, if you don’t like the content of this blog, there’s this little button with an “x” in the upper corner of the window.

  8. 20 gina 11/23/2010 at 9:43 pm

    wow. someone sounds a little pissed off. is your beret too tight?

  9. 21 MAx 11/23/2010 at 11:55 pm

    when it all comes down to it no one really has respect for these artists they don’t really help the world with anything

  10. 22 John's got talent 11/24/2010 at 12:03 am

    I hate to say that I have to agree with Nich on this one. These books are draining the brains of our children’s generation! They should be learning about God! Not looking at this ‘art’. This truly disgusts me. Please, stop making others feel sorry for you. They wouldn’t make fun of you if you were good at art.

  11. 23 vendettabella 11/24/2010 at 8:07 am

    I’m just astounded (and for the record, yes, I did almost die!), there really is no way to go lower sometimes. In any event, this has gotten ridiculous, but in a sense where you can’t look away from the crash that’s happening in front of you.
    I think comments are done here.

  12. 26 anti artist 04/17/2011 at 6:34 pm

    This “nick” person is a waste of flesh–really,go blow your head off and do us all a favor—washed up wax jockey/I can draw doodles 2—maybe the lack of a keytar or a pirate shirt in your life made you oh so very bitter…a new low when you have 2 make fun of a cancer patient….so glad life has fast forward and erased people like you


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