We recently designed a luxury casebound book about the supreme tenor of our time, Luciano Pavarotti, and are looking forward to it thudding onto our coffee table.
It started us thinking how a high-quality, gloriously photographed book can add kudos to luxury brands, expressing their story in a lavish and unique way, and sometimes elevating them to icons in their category.
We’ve chosen some examples of luxury coffee table books that brilliantly show off their brand in different ways, translating their personality, history and values into words and pictures for total stand-out.
Tell your brand’s story
It’s a simple premise: trace the history of your brand chronologically, highlighting the products, people and environments that have shaped your evolution. The high-class shirting brand Brooks Brothers did it perfectly in 200 Years of American Style, highlighting archive pieces and profiles of famous men and women who have patronised the brand from Abraham Lincoln to Miles Davis. Louis Vuitton also did it in a compelling way in the The Birth of Modern Luxury, which examined the brand’s life and times, from making trunks for sea travel through to their rise to becoming the world’s finest luxury companies.
The Veuve Clicquot book is an unashamed rollick through the great champagne house’s collaborations, challenges and associations all the way back to 1775, from the Napoleonic Wars to quaffing with high society at Goodwood.
Become a taste maker
Since 1900, when French car tyre maker Michelin released its first touring guide,
luxury brands have ventured out of their own categories to become thought leaders that takes them further than their brand category. As the queen of accessories, Kate Spade expanded her vision in All in Good Taste, a gloriously girly, pastel-coloured book that gives the modern hostess the low-down on entertaining. It’s cheeky and vibrant, capturing the voice of the young, fun-loving girl-about-town brand. High-end accessories powerhouse Louis Vuitton released their City Guides on the back of their positioning as luxury travel pioneer, giving readers carefully selected recommendations and the latest trends for travelling in style. A great move for luxury brands who want to move into the lifestyle arena.
Honour an anniversary
Reaching a milestone date is the perfect time to reflect on your brand’s successes and learnings, and luxury brands often use an anniversary to reinforce their pedigree and position. The Belgian luxury chocolate brand produced Godiva 90th Anniversary, a tome of sumptuous photography, telling their rich history of luxury chocolate perfection. Celebrating the über-wealthy’s chosen car brand, Lamborghini Supercars celebrates its first 50 years, recounting its history from the early days of tractor manufacturing to the speedy works of art of today. Photographed one of the world’s leading automotive photographers and written by a motorsports journalist, it tells the story with power and authority. Cartier Panthère marks 100 years of the brand’s most enduring icon in breathtaking images of fabulous jewels, while The Porsche 911 Book marks the fiftieth birthday of a single model: the iconic sports car that became a milestone in automotive history.
And for pure fantasy? The Hulk-size volume 75 Years Of Marvel plots the brand’s progression through Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and X-Men, showing off their ingenuity and storytelling prowess.
Delve into the past
Get down into those archives and unearth the treasure trove of your past: that’s the message that iconic heritage brands tell – and they tell it brilliantly. Yves Saint Laurent Accessories unveils the haute couture designer brand’s past in mouth-watering images of handbags, jewellery and shoes that summed up the ground-breaking designer’s outlook. In Versace, Donatella leads us through the back rooms of her design house and uncovers the photographers from Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, with essays and comment from fabled editors, writers and academics. Using equally esteemed contributors, Graff is a beautifully crafted book that lifts the lid on six decades of hunting out some of the world’s most historic diamonds for the jewellery house; while 100 Superlative Rolex Watches features the most prestigious Rolex watches ever crafted to tell the story of the brand’s innovation in design and technical precision. Lavish and dazzling, it’s a brilliant way of using carefully chosen products to tell the bigger story of your brand.
Luxury fashion brands are masters of capturing their essence in different ways, from catwalk shows and fragrances to high-end afternoon tea collaborations and mini-films (Baz Luhrmann’s Chanel No.5 film set a new benchmark in brand expression).
Align yourself with high art
The self-penned Tom Ford book is a testament to the contributions of the man to luxury fashion, exploring not just his designs but also his grand vision for the complete design of a brand. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is in a category all its own, positioning the luxury fashion brand next to high art. Accompanying the first retrospective of the designer’s work at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the fabulous volume documents his artistic process and career trajectory, with glorious designs in full colour. The coffee table book is a big statement for a brand, with high production values and the chance to explore your story, prestige and iconic products in a lavish, eye-catching way that can take your brand into a new realm of luxury