For better or worse, few things serve as a more timely reminder of the imminent gifting season than family time at Thanksgiving — along with the importance of good entertainment to get lost in. Here, a guide to a dozen of the best new books that make for great escapes, for you and the trickiest on your list this year.
For the Demna disciple: This past summer, Demna Gvasalia, Lotta Volkova, and various others in the closely followed Vetements crew packed up and headed to a French chateau, documenting their ensuing romps in Tupac merch and thigh-high boots for Vetements Summercamp (Idea Books).
For the selfie enthusiast: Save for a cigarette, Donatella Versace is stripped down from the very first page of her new namesake tome, Versace (Rizzoli), which, along with more than a few vintage, fleshy campaigns, offers up the designer’s greatest creation for examination: herself.
For the arty foodie: “If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once,” said Salvador Dalì of Les dîners de Gala (Taschen), his Surrealist cookbook with creepy culinary paintings, 136 recipes, and more than a few helpings of lobster.
For the international playboy: Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe are just some of the women who made the photographer Slim Aarons’ cut of “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” over the course of his jetset career. Slim Aarons: Women (Abrams) captures both, along with Aarons’ usual poolside coterie of princesses and socialites.
For the armchair tourist: If you’ve been wondering what the photographer Nan Goldin’s been up to since her MoMA exhibition “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency,” Nan Goldin: Diving for Pearls (Steidl) provides a glimpse of her most recent output: diaristic takes on her favorite artworks in the Louvre, complete with the usual photos of her friends and text by Glenn O’Brien.
For the analog junkie: Though the photographer Miles Aldridge works in the present day, he often uses a Polaroid camera for his fashion test shoots, the most recent and luridly lit of which are captured in Please Return Polaroid (Steidl).
For the Bowery-ologist: From Susan Sontag in repose to Fran Lebowitz at ease and fresh-faced, Peter Hujar’s black-and-white portraits of New York fixtures have been making their rounds long since the 70’s, but get a timely update this fall with Peter Hujar: Lost Downtown (Steidl).
For the Björk-in-training: After a whirlwind trip to Iceland where none other than Björk was his tour guide, the photographer Thomas Whiteside returned to the country once more with the models/artists Michael Bailey Gates and India Salvor Menuez, documenting their free, naked romp for Route 1: India and Mike by Thomas Whiteside (Dashwood Books).
For the street poet: Forty years after he first made a splash at MoMA by simply showing color photography, and just as his “Democratic Forest” series again comes to light, William Eggleston Portraits (Yale University Press) takes a look back at the photographer’s decades of portraiture, from his images of Southerners in the 60’s to his thoughts on it all as a living icon in the present.
For the factory girl: Starting when he was just 17, Stephen Shore spent practically every day at Studio 54 between 1965 and ’67, hanging with the likes of Andy Warhol, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed, and still others seen in his photos now published decades later in Factory: Warhol (Phaidon).
For the Harlem historian: In addition to documenting the Civil Rights Movement, Gordon Parks was the first African American photographer for both Vogue and Life magazines, making for fashion imagery to complement his better known shots of Harlem and figures like Malcolm X in I Am You: Selected Works 1934-1978 (Steidl), an overview of his oeuvre spanning nearly half a century.
For the McQueen fetishist: Though only a porn magazine was interested in his images when he first started photographing Alexander McQueen shows in the early days, the photographer Robert Fairer stuck with the designer, documenting over 15 years’ worth his collections and accruing a trove of previously unpublished photos for Alexander McQueen: Unseen (Yale University Press).