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Lifestyle • December 29, 2016

Who Even Reads Coffee Table Books Anyway?

by Candice Chua
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Fashion has a thing for coffee table books, whether it is producing it or hoarding it. We like it in our flatlays, on the shelves, as a base for various tchotchkes and as bookends for actual books. Its very name suggests that it is ornamental, which begs the question – does anyone really take the time to read coffee table books? Granted, most coffee tables have far more pictures than text, so browsing would be a more appropriate term. So, again – are there still people who take the time to browse a coffee table book from cover to cover, little bits of text included?

I’ve “read” several coffee table books in their entirety. But somehow, it feels a little pretentious to be that person who reads the words among the plethora of glossy images. Oh, you browsed the book? I actually read it. Very hoity-toity, don’t you think? Yet, not reading it renders the act superficial. Did I buy the book because I was genuinely interested in finding out its purpose, or because it just looked pretty? Isn’t the purpose of a coffee table book to look pretty? You can’t win with this!

Of course I’m overthinking this whole thing. Read it, don’t read it, I think we can all agree that owning big, glossy, colourful coffee table books is a nice feeling. It feels good to get them as gifts and it feels good to see them propped up against all your fuh-yancy things. It feels good to just have them there. Plus, pictures paint a thousand words, don’t they? So, if you put it that way, flipping through a coffee table book actually gets thousands of words into your noggin. Technically.

If you’re in a collecting mood, browse the very attractive coffee table books that we’ve got our eye on below, from Louis Vuitton’s best window displays across the years to an inside look at Alessandro Michele’s stellar Cruise 2017 collection for Gucci in London’s Westminster Abbey.


Gucci: Blind For Love by Nick Waplington (shop it here)


Yves Saint Laurent by Farid Chenoune and Florence Muller (shop it here)


Set of Three Hardcover Books: Chanel (shop it here)


Yayoi Kusama (shop it here)


Louis Vuitton Windows by Vanessa Friedman (shop it here)


Pradasphere by Michael Rock and Stephanie Murg (shop it here)


Alexander McQueen edited by Claire Wilcox (shop it here)

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