What do you get people who have everything? A very stylish coffee table book, of course! A bevy of beautiful tomes have been published in 2009 on everything from fashion designers' favorite recipes to those who've been accused of Russian espionage. Here are a few that caught our eye. American Fashion Cookbook: 100 Designer's Best Recipes
(Assouline, $45). The Council of Fashion Designers of America book of cooking recipes with a forward by Martha Stewart and text by Lisa Marsh. Check out Isaac Mizrahi's Mushroom Truffle spaghetti, Mark Ecko's "Adults Only" Chocolate Chip Cookies and John Varvatos' Calaloo Soup.Resort Fashion: Style in Sun-Drenched Climates
by Caroline Rennolds Milbank (Rizzoli, New York, $65) with a forward by Amy Fine Collins. From Chanel's beach pajamas to sailor stripes, this is a visual history of color, ease and playfulness that resort fashion is all about. Russian Style
by Evelina Khromtchenko (Assouline, $60). From Erte and Faberge to Lolita
and Anna Karenina
, leaf through photographs and witty stories about the elements of Russian style and culture that have influenced the world. Valentina: American Couture and the Cult of Celebrity
by Kohle Yohannan (Rizzoli, New York, $75) with a forward by Harold Koda and preface by Phyllis Magidson. Some 250 photographs and research tell the rags-to-riches story of the Ukrainian-born beauty by the same name who shot to the top of American fashion design (pictured above). Valentina is a forgotten part of American fashion history but her stories are incredible. Some said she was a Russian spy. Others claimed she arrived in the U.S. as a dancer in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes
. She herself maintained she was a duchess in exile. She apparently lied about everything but was devastatingly chic and brilliant at capturing the public's attention.
100 Contemporary Fashion Designers
by Terry Jones (Taschen, $59.99). Perfect for the Project Runway
addict in your life, this is a two-volume compilation of today's fashion superstars, up-and-coming talents and the stars of the future. 20th Century Fashion: 100 Years of Apparel Ads
by Alison A. Nieder (Taschen, $39.99) Full disclosure: I used to share an office with Nieder when we both wrote for fashion news trade California Apparel News in Los Angeles. Nieder now heads up the paper and has come out with a very fun, nostalgic look at the ads of modern fashion-from high-end to mass market. Norman Parkinson: A Very British Glamour
by Louise Baring with contributions from Grace Coddington and Jerry Hall (Rizzoli, New York, $65). Not exactly a household name, but Norman Parkinson was one of fashion's most influential taste-makers from the '30s to the '80s having served under Alexander Lieberman and Diana Vreeland at American Vogue
among other publications. This is a must for photography and fashion legacy enthusiasts.