Holiday Gift Guide: Coffee-table books

Leanne Italie
Associated Press

New York – –

Know a book lover with a coffee table and a passion? Then you’re good to go on a gift.

Coffee-table books aren’t usually high on the self-purchase priority list, but they can make great holiday gifts if chosen carefully.

Some suggestions:

Fashion & style

■Russell Westbrook, because why not?

That’s the catchphrase of the NBA superstar who is one stylish guy and has put together a great book offering a glimpse into his world, celebrating trendsetters he admires along the way.

Peep the baby photo of Westbrook in the back, gold chain on point, in “Russell Westbrook: Style Drivers,” Rizzoli New York, $55.

Westbrook inspires in images, chunky quotes from the style drivers he has chosen and some product placement tracing his fashion collaborations.

■The House of Dior is marking 70 years in fashion and there’s one special book for your Dior lover that covers a lot of ground: “Dior: The House of Dior, Seventy Years of Haute Couture,” National Gallery of Victoria, $65.

The companion to an exhibition at the gallery in Melbourne, Australia, includes Christian Dior in his own words, including his passion for flowers carried over from his childhood. The book starts at the beginning, in 1947, and includes an inside look at the atelier.

Eras are broken down by creative directors, including Yves Saint Laurent from 1957 to 1960 and John Galliano, from 1996 to 2011, straight on through to the first woman to head the house, today’s Maria Grazia Chiuri, named last year.

■Speaking of anniversaries, Harper’s Bazaar is marking 150 years and the book, “Harper’s Bazaar 150 Years: The Greatest Moments,” captures some of the stars in modeling, fashion design and photography who helped shape the magazine over the decades.

From Abrams, retailing at $65, the book offers some much-needed cultural context, such as editor Glenda Bailey’s letter that ran soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. What, she mused, are we to feel for fashion right now? Her answer is the notion that the “exuberance that is fashion has its own role to play — even in (especially in) the worst of times.”

There are first ladies, supermodels and a William Wegman dog wearing a Piaget diamond necklace and looking mighty haute couture.

Photography & art

■Rihanna bathed in red, Havana light. A pregnant Melania Trump in a golden bikini. Neil Patrick Harris with a large snake’s tail down his pants.

Welcome to “Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016,” the third volume in a series by the famed photographer. The book, from Phaidon, includes 150 photographs of artists, performers, writers, athletes, politicians and scientists, including LeBron James and his “chosen” tattoo and a stunning, stripped-down profile of Lupita Nyong’o close up.

It’s a heavy lift, weight-wise and at $110, but it pretty much defines gifty coffee-table books for culture vultures.

■David LaChappelle. Is he the Magritte of his surreal, celebrity fueled world? As Richard Avedon, another famous photographer, muses in the New York Times, the potential is there.

Taschen has the honor of publishing the long-awaited last two installments in LaChappelle’s five-book anthology, “Lost + Found, Part I” and “Good News, Part II,” sold separately at $69.99 each.

These are visual recordings, tableaux featuring famous figures mostly in stunning color, including some memorable foldouts.

■Based on an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, $27.46, explores the years between 1963 and 1983 through the eyes of mostly black artists.

The meaning of black identity, debates over “black art” in pamphlets and magazines, work by Faith Ringgold and Romare Bearden, and essays detailing the lives and roles of numerous others included.

Also included is what went on during those years behind the scenes to boost the visibility of African-American artists in museum collections and exhibitions and to promote the rise of African-Americans to museum leadership roles. Key to that effort was the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, which also worked to secure funding for prison art programs in the 1970s following the 1971 uprising at Attica State Prison.


“200 Women Who Will Change the Way You See the World,” Chronicle Books, $50. A collection of the famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalized, from activists and actors to authors and everyday women. They answer the same five questions about themselves and the world, accompanied by portraits. Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Ashley Judd and Alfre Woodard included.

“Prince: A Private View,” St. Martin’s Press, $35. The late icon’s trusted photographer and videographer, Afshin Shahidi, offers up the staged, candid and in-concert moments he captured and serves them up in stories and images from their time together spanning 2001 to 2010. Few details were lost on Shahidi and he shares freely.

“Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” Little, Brown and Co., $28.99. Through the lens of Pete Souza, Obama’s chief official White House photographer for eight years. The former president wrote the foreword: “Over those eight years, Pete became more than my photographer — he became a friend, a confidant, and a brother.”