Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Books are like buses: you wait ages for one to come along, then two come along at once. (In fact, books are nothing like buses really are they, which I never take anyway.) Books are like buses though, when you put them on various wishlists and always see those joyless words next to them: this title is unavailable. Last week two of my books came up at the same time.

Diana Vreeland - Why Don't You...?
Diana Vreeland's memoir, D.V. is my essential bedside reading and was one of the only things that got me through a serious bout of insomnia last year. Reading her words is soothing and not too taxing, like listening to a particularly well lived great aunt recount the stories of her glory days. Except that the people D.V. mixed with were the icons of the 20th century. The funny thing is that though my copy of D.V. is seriously well thumbed, each time I pick it up and open a page at random it's as if I'm reading it for the first time again. Her mentions of her Why Don't You column are self deprecating, as if she knew it was all a load of nonsense but people liked it.

I had always wanted the book Why Don't You? The Bazaar Years but I had to have the one with the (Alexey Brodovitch) typography cover and it was always going for huge sums of money - it was only published in 2001 so I'm not sure why it was so hard to get hold of. Then finally it popped up new on Amazon marketplace for $16.99. It was supposed to have a remainder mark, whatever that is. I imagined this to be a huge stamp spoiling the fab cover design but there's not a mark I can see.
100 Why Don't Yous are reproduced along with pictures of D.V. relaxing on set (relax? on set?) in various locations, many of them taken by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. There are shots from Bazaar of young model Betty Bacall (yet to become Lauren) and quite a few of D.V's famous "garden in hell" red swathed Park Avenue apartment. For all this it's a little book - I felt I had already seen most of the Why Don't You...? snippets quoted all over the place and you probably have too, so I'll try to share the more obscure ones.

Why Don't You...? Paint every door in a completely white house the colour of a different flower - then give each room its name? ...Remember how delicious champagne cocktails are after tennis or golf? Indifferent champagne can be used for these. ...Wear a blue sapphire thistle in one ear and a ruby thistle in the other? ...Tie black tulle bows on your wrists? (quite like that one!),...Have an elk hide trunk for the back of your car? Hermes of Paris will make this.

{photo of Diana Vreeland by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar 1942.}

The other book I finally got my hands on is a photo book by Sofia Coppola:
SC 2003 (some pictures from this past year). Fellow SC geeks will know that this simple 5x7" pale pink tome containing 15 photographs taken by Sofia Coppola of friends and family and published in Japan is extremely sought after. You can find it if you look hard enough, but usually at a scary price.

I discovered my copy randomly via following a link in a comment on a dead thread from about three years ago. It was a reasonable price, with the usual thing of the shipping being three times the price of the book. Again, as with D.V. I had already seen most of the content on my internet travels but it is so lovely to have some of Sofia's work in a real book and not just on my desktop. I love this one of Kirsten Dunst/beret/pink dessert (my name for it!) which also appeared in the SC Vogue Paris guest edit.


Felicia said...

I'll have to look for these :)

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Lola Is Beauty said...

thank you! x

l'embrouillamini said...

Good finds :) xx

Life with Sofia, Gus and Jim said...

oh you are so lucky lucky lucky. I've been looking for this book for ages...of course, it's all vital PhD research...naturally! LOVE that photo of Kirsten.