Fashion coffee table books fall into a unique intersection—they’re a book, yes, one that can be read or pursued simply for pleasure. Per the coffee table part of things, they can also double as a beautiful piece of decor, a small accessory that can go a long way toward completing a vignette and making any space feel more pulled together and finished. Not to mention that, given the topic, they can also be an objet d’art, a special item worthy of being collected and displayed. And with a plethora of different options out there, there’s no shortage of stunning books to fit everyone’s aesthetic and personal preference, both when it comes to the types of photographs on the inside and the appearance of the book itself.
There are few fashion photographers (okay, photographers, period) whose name holds as much weight as Annie Leibovitz’s. This anthology of images follows her experience with fashion over the course of five decades, and features subjects ranging from movie stars like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett, to fashion icons like Karl Lagerfeld and Kate Moss. “Every page is an adventure,” says interior designer Stefanie Mullen, co-founder of JJandStefanie.com, who counts this among one of her favorites.
Publisher: Phaidon Press | Year: 2021 | Pages: 448
Price at time of Publish: $68
Best for Couture Lovers
Yves Saint Laurent: The Complete Haute Couture Collections
For those who adore the couture aspect of fashion, this is a choice pick. The oversized (over 600 pages, to be exact) coffee table book beautifully captures a detailed chronology of Yves Saint Laurent’s haute couture collections over the years, starting in 1962 and ending in 2002.
Publisher: Yale University Press | Year: 2019 | Pages: 632
Price at time of Publish: $52
Best Celebrity Fashion
Vogue: The Covers
Not only does this book feature every cover of the iconic fashion magazine since 2010, it also includes classic covers from Vogue’s 125-year history. Per the point of fashion coffee table books doubling as works of art, this even includes five frameable prints that can be removed from the back of the book. Though even displayed as is, this book is still show-stopping, and a true conversation starter. “Every time I open it I find a different idea or style that I want to bring into my wardrobe and my client’s homes,” says Mullen, who lists this as another one of her top recommendations.
Publisher: Abrams | Year: 2017 | Pages: 288
Price at time of Publish: $41
Best for Beauty Lovers
Dior: The Art of Color
Fashion and beauty are more often than not inextricably linked. This stunning book beautifully portrays that hand-in-hand partnership at Dior and how it’s played out over the years. It’s divided into 12 chapters, each of which is named after a color, and looks at the history of Dior cosmetics within the context of both fashion and art, as well as captures some of the most iconic makeup advertising campaigns. To that point, anyone who loves beauty, fashion, and/or art is sure to appreciate this.
Publisher: Rizzoli | Year: 2016 | Pages: 272
Price at time of Publish: $76
Best Avant Garde
This deep dive into the provocative British designer’s collections explores the varied themes of his work through stunning imagery, much of which was previously unseen. The text is also noteworthy, with commentary and essays from a variety of authors. It’s a comprehensive representation of McQueen’s avant garde aesthetic, and even the look of the book itself is particularly special. “The face of the book is very unique with a subtle reptilian glaze and a metallic gold title that adds an elegant touch,” says Chris Jovanelly, Lead Interior Designer at Est Est, Inc., who adds that its slightly smaller scale makes it a good choice to place at the top of a stack.
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | Year: 2015 | Pages: 352
Price at time of Publish: $57
Chanel: Collections and Creations
There’s arguably no fashion house more unequivocally correlated with luxury than Chanel. Those iconic double ‘Cs’ are a cult-classic for good reason, and this hardcover covers pivotal Chanel moments, with both stunning imagery alongside a detailed history. Mullen also recommends this book, pointing out that it’s organized according to five of the brand’s timeless themes: the suit, the camellia, jewelry, fragrances and make-up, and, of course, the little black dress. Previously unpublished photos and sketches from Karl Lagerfeld makes this feel even more special, a perfect gift for any fashion (or Chanel) aficionado.
Publisher: Thames & Hudson | Year: 2007 | Pages: 208
Price at time of Publish: $34
Best Street Style
The World Atlas of Street Fashion
Fashion isn’t always just about what’s happening on the runways and at the Paris fashion houses. Here, you’ll find over 600 images of street fashion from around the globe; the book is divided by continent. International street style is viewed through the unique lens of how it mirrors and interplays with historical and political moments in time, showcasing how even sidewalk fashion can truly become a social movement.
Publisher: Yale University Press | Year: 2017 | Pages: 400
Price at time of Publish: $32
Few designers are as iconic and classic as Tom Ford, so it’s no surprise that both Mullen and Jovanelly recommend this as one of their top fashion coffee table book picks. Mullen appreciates how it showcases the connection between fashion and home decor, an homage to the fact that style is everywhere. (Along with detailing Ford’s work in clothing and accessories for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, the book also focuses on his emphasis on things such as architecture and store design.) Jovanelly calls out the simplicity of the black-and-white design of the book itself, noting that it layers well with many other accessories.
Publisher: Rizzoli | Year: 2008 | Pages: 414
Price at time of Publish: $82
Best for Design Lovers
The Big Book of Chic
While the focus of this book is interior design—featuring many of the interiors created by designer Miles Redd—there’s a strong fashion influence to be found here, further highlighting the direct connection between fashion and interior design. In fact, Redd is known to have pulled inspiration from fashion photography. And with a bold red and white design to the book itself, it’s the perfect statement piece for a coffee table, says Jovanelly of another one of his favorites.
Publisher: Assouline Publishing | Year: 2012 | Pages: 300
Price at time of Publish: $105
Fun fact: Lanvin is the oldest couture house, in existence since 1909 with nearly no interruption. This book features key collections (many of which embody old-school glamor) from Jeanne Lanvin from 1909 until 1946, with illustrations, photographs, and extra attention paid to details such as texture, embroidery, and embellishments.
Publisher: Rizzoli | Year: 2007 | Pages: 370
Price at time of Publish: $57
Meet the Expert
- Chris Jovanelly is the Lead Interior Designer at Est Est, Inc., an award-winning interior design company inScottsdale, Arizona.
- Stefanie Mullen is a San Diego-based interior designer & co-founder of, JJandStefanie.com, a design, decor, and lifestyle website.
What to Look For When Choosing a Fashion Coffee Table Book
Seek out photography that resonates with you; after all, they should be a reflection of your tastes and interests. “Look for something that is an extension of your personality. Do you love black and whites? Are you colorful and bold? Get books that you will enjoy flipping through at the end of a long day,” suggests Mullen. Plus, “Selecting a coffee table book that is a representation of your interests and experiences can add character to your home and really make it stand out,” adds Jovanelly.
Given that you will be displaying this book, quality does matter here. Hardcover is ideal, as is something that is larger in scale; the bigger the better, notes Jovanelly. To that point, while they can be more expensive, you don’t need to buy a ton. Even a few stacked together will make a statement.
Are coffee table books still popular?
Yes. Hard yes, actually. Both experts we spoke with agree that they’re more popular than ever, an imperative part of not only accessorizing a home from a design perspective, but also adding a personal touch.
What makes a good coffee table book?
At the end of the day, while how it looks does matter, it really is more about finding something that features a topic that really resonates and represents you. A good coffee table book should reflect your personal style, and be something that you love to open, says Mullen.
How do you display a coffee table book?
In short, the options really are endless. If you have a larger coffee table, you can arrange them in stacks, according to category, Mullen suggests. And don’t get thrown off by the name. You can really place them on any surface, add Jovanelly, including nightstands, console tables, or even underneath lamps on side tables. Top tip: They act as a good foundation piece when it comes to accessorizing, so start with your books and then add other pieces around them, he suggests.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has nearly fifteen years of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Along with covering beauty, she also covers health, wellness, fashion, and other lifestyle topics. You’ll find multiple fashion coffee table books prominently displayed in her office.