The 5 Best New Style Books for Fashion Week

Photo: Photo: Sølve Sundsbø, Art + Commerce. From Russell Westbrook: Style Drivers (Rizzoli New York).

From the runways to the front rows, all the world is a buzz over the shows at New York Fashion Week (September 7-13). The line up of designers presenting new works is the crème de la crème, from Jeremy Scott to Helmut Lang.

Also: “Dandy Lion” Roars to Life in a Glorious New Book of Black Male Style

While not everyone gets an invitation to the shows, a great many people love to partake in what has become one of the finest spectator sports of our age. The dandy has risen to great heights in recent years, as men’s style has captivated the public’s imagination with its bold reinvention of fashion norms, reminding us once again that fashion may come and go, but style is forever. It’s not just what you wear, but how you wear it – and with this in mind, Crave has rounded up 5 of the best new style books for Fashion Week to inspire you take your personal or professional look to new heights.

Dennis Murphy. Courtesy of Westbrook Frames, DMA United

Russell Westbrook: Style Drivers

Two-time NBA All-Star MVP Russell Westbrook dominates on the court—and off. Westbrook has made a name for himself pushing style to the edge, unafraid to take risks when it comes to being himself. “My slogan is ‘Why not?’ And that’s the way I live,” the baller reveals in his first photo book, Russell Westbrook: Style Drivers (Rizzoli New York), a sumptuous collection of his greatest looks and personal philosophy on style, along with inspirational quotes from fellow creatives ranging from Pusha T to Simon Doonan. The book features three different covers, designed by Crave fave Raymond Pettibon, because: “Why not?”

Westbrook deftly blends elements of pop and punk, hip hop and haute couture, and jock and prep to stunning effect. His intuitive sense of self-expression is infectious. After reading Style Driver, you might just find yourself pushing the outer limits.

“Call it what you want. Boldness. Confidence. Simply not giving a fuck,” Westbrook admits. “In the long run, the words themselves aren’t important. Because no matter what you call it, the thread that connects one style driver to the next—the connective tissue that gave rise to this entire group of people who are shaping and reshaping culture as we know it—is rooted in one thing: fearlessness.”

Crosshairs trained on the window of Anderson & Sheppard, one of several

distinguished tailors in the area to have dressed men of distinction for over a

hundred years.. Munster/The Rake/2008

Bespoke: The Master Tailors of Savile Row

“English gentlemen’s tailoring, and in particular the tailoring of Savile Row, really set the standard for the way the stylish 20th-century man dressed,” Tom Ford observes in the foreword to Bespoke: The Master Tailors of Savile Row by James Sherwood (Thames & Hudson).

Indeed, the first name in men’s suits has always been Savile Row. Whether dressing royalty or rock stars, billionaires or Average Joes, the men who make the suit have mastered the sartorial arts. Bespoke takes us behind the scenes, back to its earliest days, and allows the story to unfold in a manner that intrigues and captivates. This is the story of formality done to a crisp, so flawlessly elegant that it continues to set the standard for the very best in menswear.

In addition to the luminous history of the legendary street, Bespoke provides a detailed guide on everything you need to know to craft the perfect, customized suit. It also includes a cloth directory, contacts, and the language of Savile Row, so that you can make an appointment, should you be so inclined.

Skater. age fotostock/Alamy Stock Photo

The World Atlas of Street Fashion

Youth culture has always been a revolutionary force, firmly throwing off the traditions of old in search of something new that speaks to the world in which they live. Whether a Fly Girl from New York or a Rude Boy from Jamaica, a Sapeur from Kinshasa or an Boho from Paris, one thing they all have in common is the street: the great equalizer among people from all walks of life.

Caroline Cox brings them all together for the phenomenal new book, The World Atlas of Street Style (Yale University Press), which sows how teens have transformed life around the globe—from the Cholas of Los Angeles to the Seoul’s K-Pop legends. Organized by continent, and then further subdivided by city, each chapter in the book features a mix of photographs taken on the street, of celebrities and artists, and at fashion shows, providing a look at the way that local style has informed the fashion industry.

As each subculture developed underground, it created new forms of art that crossed over to fashion houses in New York, Paris, Milan, and London. Consider the Taqwacore of Pakistan, which draws its roots from Riot Grrrl and punk, and the way in which their culture of independence at home helped to bring hijabs and niqabs to the runways worldwide. The World Atlas of Street Fashion reminds us that style is a like virus that can’t stop, won’t stop.

Italian fashion designer Valentino. Photograph by Dustin Pittman.

Studio 54

Just the name alone might make your pupils dilate as you imagine the drama, the glamour, and the grandeur of it all, the place where you were as likely to bump into Diana Ross on the dancefloor as you were to sit on the sofa beside Truman Capote and allow him to regale you with tales of the life.

Legendary luxury hotelier Ian Schraeger, co-owner of Studio 54, has put together the ultimate illustrated memoir in the long-awaited magnum opus Studio 54 (Rizzoli New York). The book is the perfect mélange of photographs and press clips, memories of New York when nightlife was at its peak. But it’s more than a who’s who of the jet set—it is the ultimate guide to vintage style, from Valentino to Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.

Studio 54 catalogues some of the era’s greatest looks: what to wear when you want to stand out in a crowd of beauties and jewels. From black tie to barely there, sporty suits to full-length furs, it simply doesn’t get any better than this. Studio 54 is style, pure and simple.

First Date © Maxime Ballesteros

Les Absents

Whether shooting for Purple or Vice, French photographer Maxime Ballesteros puts his singular spin on the fashion photograph as an object of art that brilliantly combines the beautiful and the grotesque, seductively luring us into a fantastical world that is as surreal as it is compelling.

In his fist book Les Absents (Hatje Cantz) we see the world of fashion with fresh eyes, giving us a new way of considering style. Imagine the lovechild of Salvador Dali and Helmut Newton might have dropped a tab then picked up a camera and set forth to show us the world through his eyes.

As Ballesteros reminds us, style is how you see, not what you see, that keeps fashion fresh. It is in finding newness wherever you are, whether you create it for yourself or simply discover what already exists. Style, ultimately, is what sets us free, what allows us to show the world who we are, and how we wish to be.

Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.