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9 best fashion books of all time: Autobiographies & Memoirs from Coco Chanel, André Leon Talley, Christian Dior and MORE

The fashion books every style maven has on her bookshelf...

fashion memoirs
Lauren Cunningham
Freelance Writer
Updated: 13 April 2022
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Whether you're in awe of the catwalk photos from fashion week, or just love the glitz and glam of it all, fashion memoirs are the best way to gain insight into the world so few people get to see. Of course, the only thing better than reading about someone's life is speaking to them in person, but we don't all have Anna Wintour on speed dial.

RELATED: 21 celebrity autobiography books you won't want to put down

MORE: 11 books written by the royals

If you want answers to questions like, how did the MET ball start? What goes on inside Condé Nast? Why is that celebrity on the cover of Vogue? And what does it take to make one of the world's most famous jewellery brands? Then you won't find better answers anywhere else but the pages of these books. 

So, from fashion greats such as Diana Vreeland, Grace Coddington, Iris Apfel and Christian Dior to behind-the-scenes icons Amy Odell and Nicholas Coleridge, these are the best fashion memoirs to learn from, laugh with, and get inspired by.

Best fashion memoirs of all time

The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, André Leon Talley

The Chiffon Trenches

The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, from £5.99, Amazon


In January, the fashion world mourned the loss of fashion legend André Leon Talley, the editor-at-large of Vogue. And even those who had never met him also felt the loss, thanks to this fabulous memoir. Covering his time at Vogue, how Diana Vreeland changed his life, and the struggles a young black man faced breaking into the industry at the time, this definitely deserves a spot on your shelf.

Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman, Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman, The Bazaar Years 1936-1962, £34.26, Amazon


For anyone who doesn't know the name Diana Vreeland, it's time to. The legendary fashion editor wrote a couple of books in her time, but this has to be one of our favourites.

The Cartiers: The Untold Story of a Jewelry Dynasty, Francesca Cartier Brickell

The Cartiers

The Cartiers: The Untold Story of a Jewelry Dynasty, from £3.49, Amazon


Ever wondered how Cartier became the household name it is today? Then this book is your answer. Written by the great-great-great-grandaughter (we think!) of founder Louis-François Cartier, Francesca lifts the lid on what it took to transform a one man band into a global jewellery brand.

Grace: A Memoir, Grace Coddington

Grace Coddington book

Grace: A Memoir, from £12.99, Amazon


Anna Wintour's number two, Grace Coddington, is another name heralded amongst those in the fashion world. Documenting her journey from Welsh model to Creative Director at Large of Vogue, it's a definite page-turner.

Inside Vogue: My Diary Of Vogue's 100th Year, Alexandra Shulman

Inside Vogue 2

Inside Vogue: My Diary Of Vogue's 100th Year, from £4.99, Amazon


Another one from the fashionable folk at Vogue, the British magazine's longest standing editor, Alexandra Shulman, spills the beans on what it took to produce the centenary issue. Expect parties, photoshoots and even a mention of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Tales from the Back Row, Amy Odell

Amy Odell

Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry, from £5.06, Amazon


One of the most realistic insights into what the fashion industry is really like, journalist Amy Odell pulls back the curtain without the glitz and glam. If you're looking to get into the fashion world, this one's definitely worth a read.

The Glossy Years, Nicholas Coleridge

The Glossy Years

The Glossy Years: Magazines, Museums and Selective Memoirs, from £4.99, Amazon


Nicholas Coleridge worked behind the scenes for decades producing some of the world's favourite magazines at Condé Nast. Side note: he features a great story about Princess Diana you just have to read.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, Justine Picarde

Coco Chanel book

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, from £13.49, Amazon


Fashion icon Coco Chanel sadly never wrote an autobiography, but Justine Picarde, former editor-in-chief at Harper's Bazaar, has soothed our pain with this fantastic memoir. From little black dresses, trousers for women, and even the bob haircut, find out exactly just how much this one woman changed fashion history.

Dior by Dior, Christian Dior

Dior by Dior

Dior by Dior: The autobiography of Christian Dior, from £5.59, Amazon


Everybody has heard of this man, and the famous fashion designer's autobiography is everything you'd hope for. Lifting the lid on the world-renowned luxury house, as well as what 1950s Paris haute couture was really like, we couldn't recommend it more.

Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon, Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel

 Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon, from £14.99, Amazon


Oh how we love Iris, and Accidental Icon is the perfect title for this book. From her iconic round glasses to her chunky layers of bangles, no one has a style quite like hers, and her book is just as entertaining.

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