Why fashion’s sudden obsession with books, literature and authors is proving a best-seller for brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel

There is something wonderfully subversive and deliciously tangible about the recent fashionable fixation on the literary world. Many designers are turning to the metaverse and creating digital tokens that have purely speculative value and no functionality. But there are others who feel a connection to a type of transience made real – perhaps fleetingly and only in our imaginations – but much more than a jpeg on a screen.

And in this way, fashion and literature go hand in hand: both are about bringing abstract ideas to life.

In an age when using one screen at a time is retro, taking inspiration from books is undeniably cool. For fashion brands, connecting with literature adds cultural capital, even when it’s not particularly highbrow. (Remember, fashion loves high-lows: at Loewe’s Fall/Winter 2021 show, for example, Anderson dropped an excerpt from Danielle Steel’s The case on public seats.)

It’s a handy tool for instant credibility. aligning with the authors gives fashion – often decried as superficial – intellect.

A cynic might wonder if anyone in the front row actually read the book. But they would miss the point: it’s the sartorial equivalent of the power pose. Have you read the book? Do you know the author? Never mind. That reading is becoming fashion’s latest pet is also redemptive.

For every girl whose first crush was Gilbert Blythe (if you know, you know), seeing her favorite novels become fashion anointed is – I can only imagine, obviously – similar to the school computer genius that happens to be now highly sought after in the start-up boom.

The geeks inherited the dirt – or maybe just the track.

AFR Magazine’s Rich List issue was released Friday, May 27 inside The Australian Financial Review. Follow AFR Mag on Twitter and instagram.

Colin L. Johnson