Feeling Bookish: Beyond Chic...

Isn't it every fashion lover's dream to see the private homes of those behind the labels we covet? Just how does Manolo start his day? Does Rosita Missoni surround herself in patterns or live within a calm sea of neutral solids? Beyond Chic by Ivan Terestchenko gives us a backstage pass to the homes of Azzedine Alaïa, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Gilles Defour and many others.

While the studious among you will recognize Christian Louboutin's home on the banks of the Nile and Reed Krackoff's elegant (and eccentric) Manhattan apartment due to Elle Decor's fabulous coverage, most of the designers found in this book lead more private lives away from the spotlight.

Armani's featured home was delightful and Coco's apartment is of course a treat, but it was the Palazzo Pucci belonging to Laudomia Pucchi in Florence that made me want to pack up my belongings and invest in a one way ticket to Italy. It is... everything. Eighteenth-century frescoes, a terrace looks over the Duomo and gilt finishes dot the landscape of the property. It is in a word: heaven. 

The upper floor, of course, oozes modern living. Gae Aulenti created a masterpiece of glass, aluminum and seductively shaped furnishings that somehow make you think anything is possible in this life (because of course it is) if you'll only get out of your own way. It is in such contrast to the Renaissance-era furnishings below that it blows your mind. 

Surprises like this fill the book and keep you turning the page for more. Each chapter offering a new story, a new celebrity and a deeper look into how others live their lives behind closed doors. 

Beyond Chic is everything you want a coffee table book to be. It is rich in visual storytelling, filled with famous faces and dotted with cherished possessions. The book extends what feels like a private invitation from wildly successful people in the business of chic. They seem to beckon you in with open arms and reveal their hidden worlds to you without saying a word, all from the pages of this magnificent book. This is surely one for the gift list for that special someone on your list.