What’s a coffee table without a book? Every coffee table needs a book on it, and whether you’re looking for yourself or to give something as a gift, the East End’s local bookstores have a healthy selection of just such books—many with local flare.
“You don’t need to be a stylist to entertain beautifully,” says renowned decorator and trendsetter, East Hampton’s Charlotte Moss. With her expertise and advice—and her 10th book, Charlotte Moss Entertains—any gathering can be transformed into the extraordinary. The book takes readers beyond her beautifully designed interiors and gardens to show, with the sharp and stunning photographs one expects from a publisher of Rizzoli’s reputation, how Moss entertains at home, for philanthropic events, social gatherings and even while traveling. Combining her immense talents (Moss has designed numerous private residences in the United States and abroad, as well as collections of carpets, furniture, fabrics, china and enameled jewelry) and Southern charm, Moss inspires a life well lived with style, romance and good taste.
The book begins by offering tips ranging from knowing your strengths and when to bring in help, to choosing the right music, seating your guests to keep the conversation flowing and creating an element of surprise. Next, Moss showcases dazzling and imaginative tablescapes in myriad settings, from a picnic in the garden or a luncheon buffet on the patio to informal afternoon tea or cocktails in the living room.
Moss then shares several of her entertaining success stories, highlighting fine points of concepts, decorations and menus. Detailed photographs vibrantly capture Moss’s annual “Caftan Caucus,” a book party for a friend, an elegant ballet gala, a harvest dinner and a festive holiday gathering, all of which chronicle her aptitude for hospitality.
The book concludes with stylish combinations of placemats, linens, china, tableware, and her trademark floral arrangements, inviting readers into her world in order to discover how to make every day an occasion.
Another Rizzoli book catching a buzz on East End coffee tables this summer is WWD: 50 Years of Ralph Lauren, which chronicles the legendary career of Montauk’s Ralph Lauren as documented by WWD, the fashion-industry trade journal sometimes called “the bible of fashion.” In a July 1967 issue of Daily News Record, a WWD sister publication, Lauren was identified as the “head of Beau Brummell’s one-man Polo division.” Over the next 51 years, Lauren would turn the enterprise into a $7.5 billion behemoth. WWD: 50 Years of Ralph Lauren has all the receipts. The book actually begins 54 years ago—three years before Lauren founded the Polo brand—when readers were first introduced to the then 24-year-old salesman for Rivetz neckware.
What follows is, essentially, a decidedly well-put-together scrapbook of WWD’s near obsessive coverage of Lauren’s stratospheric career arc, along with images of the fashion icon at work, celebrities and models donning Lauren’s creations and several timelines showing the evolution of Lauren’s brands. Of particular interest to proud East Enders is the article from July 5, 1999 documenting the opening of Lauren’s East Hampton location. Does anyone remember him being in the store on opening day, selling clothes?
But proud East Enders aren’t the only one who will find something to love in this book. Any fashion conscious, fashion forward person with an interest in fashion history will enjoy this detailed examination of Lauren’s career and what it has meant to the fashion world. If one is not a fashionista but simply enjoys thumbing through a carefully planned and well-executed coffee table book, the unique layout of WWD: 50 Years of Ralph Lauren is sure to please.