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Fall Reading List: 5 Fashion Icons Over Fifty

Fall Reading List: 5 Fashion Icons Over Fifty
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Photo of Iris courtesy of Magnolia Pictures


Fashion is one of the most exclusive and alluring industries in the business world. We all see glimpses of it on TV, in ads, and even in window displays at shops, but relatively few of us have the chance to experience its intricacies, challenges and triumphs on a daily basis. In these five trending memoirs, fashion’s most seasoned and celebrated experts give us an insider’s look at the industry.

  1. My Journey

Donna Karan has had an undeniably indelible impact on the fashion industry and the lives of American women. Now she shares her experiences in her new memoir My Journey. Karan doesn’t hold back, detailing her time at Anne Klein, her love affairs, her challenging childhood, and the many difficulties of going public with her company. There is plenty of memorable wisdom from now 67-year-old Karan, including this sentiment about the role of apparel she discovered while working with Anne Klein: “Clothes can and should be beautiful, but they only work if you want to wear them in your everyday life.”*

  1. Iris

This past spring, one documentary resonated particularly strongly with the fashion and film worlds. Iris is a refreshing portrait of 93-year-old fashion icon and eccentric masterpiece Iris Apfel. Co-owner of a very prominent textile company with her husband, Iris’ career reached incredible heights as she became a true influencer within the fashion industry, mingling with New York society’s elite and working on creative projects for no less than nine U.S. presidents. Apfel has one of the most memorable personalities you’ll see on film, and her sense of style is forever enviable. You may very well find yourself wearing more bright colors and prints after viewing this film.

  1. The Woman I Wanted To Be

Diane Von Furstenberg’s 2014 memoir The Woman I Wanted To Be is an intimate account of her life, loves, and career with all of its successes and challenges. Almost every woman is familiar with DVF’s iconic wrap dress at this point; now you have the chance to learn how exactly this revolutionary garment came about, and how embracing it ultimately saved this brilliant designer’s business. DVF is a warm, enigmatic woman as well as a completely focused and astute business owner. The book is a refreshing glimpse into her dynamic personality and unique life as a designer, artist and entrepreneur.

  1. I’ll Never Write My Memoirs

Grace Jones’ unfettered boldness played in instrumental role in disrupting ideals of beauty for the better, and now the legendary model, performer and artist is telling her story, her way. I’ll Never Write My Memoirs  is topping all sorts of charts, and it’s no wonder–Jones’ 67 years of life have been nothing short of extraordinary. The impact Jones had on our collective understanding of gender, race, sexuality and attractiveness is made all the more striking once you grasp the restrictive nature of her upbringing and the roadblocks she faced along the way. Any errant perceptions floating around in our culture that aging dulls the vibrancy of your persona and presence are at least temporarily dispelled by this electrifying memoir.

  1. Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue

Vogue is fueled and sustained by the talent and endless dedication of a great number of exceptional individuals. As Vogue’s top stylist and one of the world’s most revered fashion experts, 74-year-old Grace Coddington is among the most prominent of these individuals. She gained wider visibility in the 2009 documentary The September Issue, and shortly thereafter released her first memoir. She also happens to be releasing a reprint of her 30-year retrospective, Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue, which at $150 is just about as good as it gets in terms of coffee table books. Stay tuned in the coming year for news of a second memoir from Coddington, as well as a documentary about her fascinating life in the upper echelon of the fashion world.

*Quote from excerpt of My Journey

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