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The Best Free Guggenheim Books for Fashion Lovers

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The Best Free Guggenheim Books for Fashion Lovers

With 200 options to choose from, we've selected a sample to help you get inspired

BY ARIA DARCELLA

CULTURE  -  MAY 09

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Photos: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Last week, the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum released over 200 art books online—for free. As any art or book lover knows, sometimes resources are hard to find, or too expensive to obtain, so the notion of a museum making catalogues and tomes from its library available for download to anyone is worthy of celebration.

Art and artists have long inspired fashion designers, resulting in homage (Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress comes to mind), collaboration (Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali, anyone?), or simply innovative design. With that in mind, this new—and again, free—catalogue will no doubt be a resource for any fashion obsessive. However, 200 publications is a lot to sift through. To make things a bit easier, we’ve called out five titles that fashion lovers should flip through.

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Spread from the interior of "Giorgio Armani"

Photo: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum

Giorgio Armani

The Costume Institute at the Met isn’t the only museum in New York that has put on a monographic exhibition of a living fashion designer. In 2000, the Guggenheim held a show of the work of Giorgio Armani, for which this catalogue was prepared. The book features essays by the late Franca Sozzani, the late Ingrid Sischy, Suzy Menkes, Dr. Valerie Steel, and Hamish Bowles, as well as images of the clothes that were on display.

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Spread from "Surrealism, Two Private Eyes: The Nesuhi Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections"

Photo: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum

Surrealism, Two Private Eyes: The Nesuhi Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections

Most people know the importance of the surrealist movement in fashion thanks to the famed collaborations between Schiaparelli and Dali. But even those who haven't brushed up on their fashion history can draw connections between the art movement and fashion’s love of trompe l'oeil, body part patterns, and general kookiness. But Surrealism is so much more than Dali and disembodied lips. Any fashion lover would do well to know other artists associated with the movement, and other ways surreal art can be conceived.

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Spread from "Peggy Guggenheim: A Celebration"

Photo: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum

Peggy Guggenheim: A Celebration

Peggy Guggenheim—Solomon R. Guggenheim’s niece—was a famed modern art collector in her own right. In fact, her collection has its own museum in Venice. Naturally, as someone who appreciated the beauty of art, Guggenheim also had an eye for fashion. A Celebration is filled with pictures of the socialite in her most glamorous wares. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys seeing vintage styles, or fashion nerds who love seeing garments from textbooks worn on a real human being (case in point: a portrait of Guggenheim in a Fortuny gown).

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Spread from "Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography"

Photo: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum

Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography

Fashion and clothing are unquestionably gendered. One can look at this two ways: as a negative way to reenforce traditional gender roles, or as a unique and easy way to deliberately (and sometimes boldly) subvert them. Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose beautifully captures how clothing and makeup can be used to transform the wearer and the power we derive from what we put on our bodies. It also inspires thoughtful consideration of the larger role fashion plays in society.

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Spread from "Ellsworth Kelly: A Retrospective"

Photo: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum

Ellsworth Kelly: A Retrospective

The late Ellsworth Kelly is best known for using color-blocking, geometric shapes, and patterns in paintings, which have long inspired minimalist fashion designers. Actually, the first person to realize just how perfect his style was for simple silhouettes was Kelly himself. In 1952, the artist designed a sheath dress featuring four horizontal blocks of color. The dress was re-created in an extremely limited run in 2013 by Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein.

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