Julie Verhoeven has worked with some of the best in business – make that businesses – as the fashion designer, illustrator and artist has turned everything she touches to creative gold. This week we get a sneak peek at her bookshelf with selections ranging from celebrations of high fashion to an intimate adult instruction manual.
The Art of Vogue Covers 1909-1940 William Packer
This book made a huge impact on me when I bought it in 1985, when it was first published. Making that purchase weirdly led my career astray from the outset. It is a stunning collection of artwork which inspires hope, optimism and joie de vivre !
It beautifully and flamboyantly demonstrates how fashion illustration was and should be celebrated. My favourite period for art and fashion is reflected vibrantly through ‘The Roaring Twenties and Jazz Age’ in this book. I remember naively thinking that Vogue would miraculously return to publishing illustrated covers. How wrong could I have possibly been! This book still brings eternal hope.
Bodywatching, A Field Guide to The Human Species Desmond Morris
I love Desmond Morris and hold him in high esteem. What a prolific man of many guises – zoologist, anthropologist, surrealist painter and TV presenter.
This book brings such pleasure and fascination. Each chapter deals with a different area of the body, and touches on behaviour, anatomy, evolution and culture. The visuals are fabulous and entertaining. I subsequently chose to take Desmond’s word as gospel, and still choose to work and draw accordingly. When I originally stumbled across this book in a charity shop I was initially attracted to the title and upon opening it, found all my Christmases had arrived at once – I had died and gone to Desmond heaven.
Visual Persuasion: The Effect of Pictures on the Subconscious Stephen Baker
This was a withdrawn library book (bad move School of Art, Walsall) that I only recently discovered. I even experienced a physical response to its beauty and contents and my flesh turned cold. It was published 40 years ago but remains timeless and so insightful. It’s both written and designed by Stephen Baker – what a man! Baker’s opening dedication sets the tone: “Dedicated to those creative men and women who, having gathered information, still dare to use intuition…….” I am fascinated by modes of communication through advertising, and this book eloquently answers and provokes many questions with such style and modernity. A beauty.
70’s Style and Design Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop
I rarely buy new books, it’s one of the house rules in my head, but I made an exception with this book. I couldn’t pay for it quickly enough, to fawn over the pages and shake. I stumbled across it accidentally in Franks fashion book shop. Due to its cover shot – All Weather Shoes by Thea Cadabra – it was lost in the shoe section. It felt like fate. It’s a stunning piece of work, I can’t gush enough about it. The picture research is mouth-watering. It’s one of those books which will remain a steadfast point of reference for me.
Oral Love in Pictures Gilbert Oakley
This is such a gem of an old paperback and one that I am very fond of. Not surprisingly I was attracted by the title, and what a title! I felt a bit smutty buying it but now I don’t care and it has moved onto my wall as a piece of decorative art to be celebrated, with its strange allure. It’s the photography which is so clever and provocative but not in an obvious way, as you would first imagine. Cunningly, pubic hair and genitalia are never revealed, which is quite a feat, and the couple project grace and dynamism in sex play which is perhaps an even greater accomplishment. The author suggests you read the book with an “arrogant spirit.” Advice indeed.