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The 10 dreamiest coffee table books

Clear space on your coffee table! Muddy's books editor Kerry Potter has 10 sexy, shiny visual feasts for your delectation.

Want a bit of light distraction during the quarantine? Coffee table books are perfect – they’re less work than a hefty novel, but more mentally stimulating than zoning out in front of Netflix (again). Stack these babies high on your table – they’re total classics that’ll keep you browsing again and again. Just don’t spill your coffee on them.

Supreme Glamour by Mary Wilson (Thames & Hudson, £29.95)

Having screamed myself hoarse at Diana Ross’s London performance last year, I adored poring over this fashion archive-meets-memoir by Miss Ross’s bandmate. The Supremes’ fabulously theatrical ’60s and ’70s outfits are detailed in full, with glorious close-ups of embellishments. Boy, did those girls love a sequin or two.

Avedon Advertising by The Richard Avedon Foundation and Laura Avedon (Abrams, £95)

If you only buy one from this list, make it this utter beauty. Glossier than Kate Middleton’s hair, it’s a comprehensive jaunt through the legendary 20th century photographer’s campaign work.  From prim ’40s ladies in nipped-in “New Look” (not that one) gowns to Brooke Shields poured into her Calvins to the Versace girls’ insane ’80s perms, every image is a work of art – and a slice of social history to boot.

Where To Go When (DK, £18.99)

This travel tome is perfect for flicking through on a drizzly day in Blighty. It’s holiday planning inspiration par excellence – packed with dream destinations and the best times of the year to visit. Start making your post-quarantine list.

The Hollywood Book Club by Steven Rea (Chronicle Books, £11.99)

A ridiculously simple but strangely irresistible concept, this is basically a bunch of photos of iconic film stars reading books, from Marilyn Monroe to James Dean to a devastatingly handsome Gregory Peck perusing To Kill A Mockingbird (he went on to win an Oscar for starring in the adaptation). Imagine if they did  a 2020 version – we’d get Lindsay Lohan glued to her iPhone.

Ballerina Project by Dane Shitagi (Chronicle Chroma, £29)

After something a little different? This whimsical book by US photographer Shitagi features the world’s greatest ballet dancers posing in unexpected urban locations in NYC, LA, London, Paris and beyond – on a bridge, on a park bench, even en pointe in a subway station. The results are oddly magical.

100 Women, 100 Styles by Tamsin Blanchard (Laurence King Publishing, £19.99)

Blanchard is a brilliant fashion writer and this pretty-in-pink book is lots of fun. Speaking of which, Molly Ringwald makes this diverse list of women who “changed the way we look”, alongside everyone from Patti Smith to Pat McGrath to Amy Winehouse to Amelia Earheart. Plus Madonna. Obviously.

Great Women Artists (Phaidon, £39.95)

How refreshing to find an art book that focuses on female creatives. And there’s a whopping 400 of them in this A-Z, spanning 50 countries and 500 years  – give that researcher a pay rise! Alongside big shots such as Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Bridget Riley and Barbara Hepworth, there are countless under-the-radar names.

Fashion: The Definitive Visual Guide (DK, £30)

This’d make the perfect educational gift for anyone who bores on about fashion being frivolous. Devilishly detailed, it painstakingly traces the £32billion industry of today back to Ancient Egypt, taking in Medieval times, the Renaissance, baroque, the Jazz Age, the swinging sixties, modern ethical fashion and much, much more along the way.

Down to Earth: Laid-back Interiors for Modern Living by Lauren Liess (Abrams, £28.99)

American interior designer Liess has such good taste. She also has five children so understands functionality is as important as style. This lavishly illustrated book of her work is packed with gorgeous ideas.

Prada Catwalk by Susannah Frankel (Thames & Hudson, £48)

Prada was an underwhelming accessories label until Miuccia Prada began designing womenswear in the late ’80s. This is a visual record of every single catwalk show of the last three decades and it’s fascinating to see how the brand, models, trends and the very notion of a fashion show have changed over the years.

Words @Kerry_Potter

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