Books


Elements of Style
Like Strunk and White before him, Hollywood stylist Phillip Bloch has precise ideas about the elements of style. Bloch's elements, though, are strictly visual, and he has them down pat. Before many of Tinseltown's biggest stars face the cameras for magazine or publicity shoots, they turn to Bloch to make sure they put their most fashionable foot forward. The book is packed with full-page photos of the stars modeling Bloch's elements of style- satin, jeans, T-shirts, chinoiserie, to name a few. Pop culture consumers will no doubt recognize many of the pictures that are fodder for the pages of Vanity Fair and Elle magazine, among others: Will Smith decked out like a 1940s gangster; Drew Barrymore in men's underwear, on a zebra-skin rug; John Travolta wearing a black turtleneck sweater; Jodie Foster balancing on a crater-ridden boulder. Alongside these images, Bloch offers tips on how the merely mortal can pull off similar looks and shares bits of fashion history and trivia: it takes 213 yards of thread to make one pair of Levi's 501 jeans; Marilyn Monroe's famous white halter dress was purchased off the rack; and Mae West had two versions of most of her clingy evening gowns- one to stand in, and one to sit in. All these goodies are enough to make a book of their own, but they're bracketed by mini-essays on fashion by designers like Prada and Calvin Klein, photographers, and hair and makeup designers. The Elements of Style is a fun addition to any trendsetter's library or the bookshelves of those who like to look at pretty pictures of pretty people.