Books & Bags Perfect Pairs:
Essential Summer Reading
and their Accessory Match

Piero Fornasetti Practical Madness by Patrick Mauriès and Margaret Howell Hazel Saddle bag

A shortlist of the best new art and photography publications, and how to carry them to beach, park or rooftop lido.

Published by Thames & Hudson this year, a new tome on Milanese creative force Piero Fornasetti celebrates his work, life and enduring legacy, just in time for Paris’ Musée des Arts Decoratifs crowd-pulling retrospective.

‘Lovers of fine decoration from the last century may well have had the strange sensation of being followed around by the eyes of a placid yet polymorphous female face’ writes the book’s editor; writer and collector Patrick Mauriès in the chapter entitled Masks and the Face. The elegant likeness, often rendered in black and white, belonged to the once famous opera singer Lina Cavalieri, whom Fornasetti discovered whilst leafing through a 19th Century magazine. Cavalieri forms part of Fornasetti’s now famous archive of references, in addition to newspaper print, heavenly stacked libraries and architectural dream spaces to name but a few.

This beautiful designed and produced publication collects Fornasetti’s most famous works, whilst also referencing his work as a painter. Folding pages, numerous full colour illustrations and inserted leaflets printed on the most tactile of papers make this book an object akin to Fornasetti’s most beloved, and collectible, creations. Patrick Mauriès well researched texts join essays by Ginerva Guadrio Curzio among others. Piero Fornasetti Practical Madness is a must for design and contemporary art collectors alike.

Margaret Howell’s classic saddle bag is made of pure, bridle leather and features a delicate hand tack detail. Polished to an elegant shine, the bag is a silent statement celebrating timeless quality. The perfect bag to carry Piero Fornasetti Practical Madness.

Arthur Elgort The Big Picture and Paul Smith Large Navy Leather and Rainbow Bouclé Two-Way Tote Bag

Counting more than four hundred pages of insightful texts and rich illustrations, Arthur Elgort The Bigger Picture, published by Steidl, marks the first comprehensive retrospective of the American photographer.


Edited by Elgort himself, working alongside longtime creative collaborator, Grace Coddington, The Bigger Picture manages to collect examples of the photographer’s five decades’ worth of archival works. Elgort’s first breakthrough came in the shape of a fashion editorial published in Vogue UK in the early 1970s. Subsequently, Elgort has lent his seemingly quick and spontaneous style, resulting in emotionally charged fashion imagery, to many an international publication, illustrating the pages of Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine and most international Vogues alike. Reproduced in The Big Picture, and thus taken out of the context and quick pace of newsstand magazines, these images appear timeless and almost private. We join Isabelle Townsend, caught in motion amidst the sun worshippers in Palm Beach, dressed in severe and tightly-belted couture two piece; her sculptural elegance at odds with bathing suits and bucket hats. Above all, The Big Picture reveals Elgort’s enduring appreciation of Americana, from his hometown New York City to Texan rodeos and the dinners of mid-America.

Paul Smith navy, calf leather, two-way tote bag with navy bouclé panels is handcrafted in Italy. It’s thought-through design is both elegant and diverse, and made the bag a stand out piece at the designer’s SS15 Show.

Elaine de Kooning Portraits by Brandon Brame Fortune and Sophie Hulme Drawstring Bucket Bag

Published by Prestel, Elaine de Kooning Portraits reconsiders the at times overlooked work and legacy of the artist famously married to ground-breaking Abstract Expressionist, Willem de Kooning.


Specialising in portraiture, Elaine de Kooning’s work is intensely colourful and emotional. With a focus on male sitters, she would capture her subject’s likeness in numerous works to clearly define their most personal aspects. In 100 colour illustrations, the book collects some of the artist’s most famous works, including portraits of John F Kennedy, who also graces the vivid green cover, Allen Ginsberg and Merce Cunningham, among many other luminaries.

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Brandon Brame Fortune’s insightful texts are coupled with contributions from both Ann Gibson and Simona Čubić. The book not only re-introduced Elaine de Kooning’s finished works, it also invites the reader to explore the artist’s work while in progress through archival images.

This Drawstring Bucket Bag by Sophie Hulme adds the designer’s signature metal hardware to the softest of leathers. The bag itself interprets the classic bucket shape, an ideal design for lazy days reading in the sun by the rooftop pool.

Carpets of the Art Deco Period by Susan Day and Margaret Howell Dark Navy Fishing Bag

With Carpets of the Art Deco Period, Thames & Hudson reissues one of the most cherished publications spanning interior design and fine art. Unparallel in detail and research, the book explores early 20th Century designs.


Geometric, angular and using striking colour combinations, Art Deco carpets revolutionized the century-old craft, and proved the perfect match to modernised interiors. In 250 illustrations, most of which are in glorious full colour, the book collects the work of skilled artisans and artists of international repute, swapping canvas for loom. Highlights, of which there are too many to mention, are Eleen Gray’s Centimetre from 1926-29, Frank Lloyd Wright’s creation for Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, and Joan Miro’s Spanish Dancer, dating from 1930. In addition to colour reproductions of the carpets, there are numerous archival images of the designs in use; such as two Maison Myrbor designs in Helena Rubinstein’s sprawling Manhattan apartment. The book’s cover is clad in a signature design by Sonia Delauney.

The canvas fishing bag in dark navy, by Margaret Howell features two handy pockets on the front, concealed under a canvas flap and leather buckle. Fully waterproof, Carpets of the Art Deco Period will be kept safe should rain fall.


PHOTOGRAPHER: Holliday Kedik

EDITOR: Felix Bischof