Mavericks & Bombshells: Good Reads

From Henry Ford 2nd to Madonna, fall's best reads look back at trendsetters’ early beginnings.

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From Henry Ford 2nd to Madonna, fall's best reads look back at trendsetters’ early beginnings.

“Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939-43”
(Abrams), by Paul Hendrickson with photographs from FSA/OWI Collection, The Library of Congress. “Bound for Glory” takes us into rural worlds of the past, with prairie wives in aprons (like the one on the cover) and fairs complete with games and Ferris wheels. A pair of musicians tune up at a square dance, while a man and his horse haul boxes of peaches and a poster urges us to buy war bonds. There is something appealing about the time capsules here, reminiscent of a simpler age.

“True Crime Detective Magazines, 1924 to 1969” (Taschen), by Eric Godtland, edited by Dian Hanson. The outrageous tag lines that belong to these irresistible publications enliven the cover — “Sin, Scandal, Sex and Death,” “Wild Daughters of Satan,” “Girls Priced to Sell” and “The Gutter Waits for Girls Like Me” — with its image of a devilish looking, bejewelled young woman in a low-cut dress smoking a cigarette. “Sex Crimes! The acts of men who are lower than beasts! An aroused public demands to know the cause and the cure.” — Real Detective, July 1934. Hmm…interesting choice of words. The prurient interest behind these lurid magazines becomes more evident with each page. And their exaggerated, campy quality makes them wonderful. “I Was Queen of the Stag-Party Strippers,” indeed.

“Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History” (Rizzoli), by Jean-Claude Kaufmann, Ian Luna, Florence Muller, Mariko Nishitani, Colombe Pringle and Deyan Sudjic, with contributions by Rei Kawakubo, Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami. This book delineates the genealogy of the Vuitton bag, with stops along the way to show amazing photos of vintage Vuitton bags, complete with travel stickers. There are terrific images from vintage advertising dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.

“Detroit 1968: Photographs by Enrico Natali” (Foggy Notion Books), edited by Jane Brown with an essay by Mark Binelli. Henry Ford 2nd, women at the beauty parlor and secretaries at work are some of the things that turn up on film here. Besides Ford, there are plenty of other shots of auto executives and their wives, often at play. Young boys sport awkward late-Sixties hair and clothes. This is Detroit long before its bankruptcy. There are signs of trouble, in the poverty of the black neighborhoods and in the sign urging us to get out of Vietnam. But this is still a city in full flower.

“The Ferrari Book” (teNeues), by Günther Raupp with a preface by Piero Ferrari and texts by Werner Schruf and Rolf Sachsse. This book is for lovers of fast cars, and those who favor this maker in particular. It’s divided into decades, and there are photos of gorgeous cars throughout, essentially pinups of them for fans. Raupp cleverly juxtaposes the vehicles with modern houses, traditional houses, hills, oceans, palm trees, night skies, racetracks and other settings and elements that will show them off. There are never any drivers, which is meant to amp up the fantasy factor for the reader, who can then imagine him or herself in the driver’s seat.

“Beyond Chic: Great Fashion Designers at Home” (The Vendome Press), by Ivan Terestchenko. This is a sumptuous volume, with inspiring interiors created by top fashion figures. Fantasy elements and unusual combinations of classic and ethnic pieces and patterns are the norm. Among the wilder places are Franca Sozzani’s Moroccan house, replete with flaking walls and a big-cat rug, and Christian Louboutin’s house in Luxor, Egypt, with its arched doorways everywhere. And Giorgio Armani’s Saint Moritz place features a standing stuffed polar bear.

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