These big, beautiful books are required reading, even if it’s only to flick through the fabulous photographs

1. A Great Party: Designing the Perfect Celebration

By Bryan Rafanelli; foreword by Chelsea Clinton; published by Rizzoli New York

Formulating the right mix of ingredients to create the kind of party that goes off with a bang—one where people flirt, drink too much champagne and say, “Oh, God, is that the time?”—is a complex recipe that we have been debating for centuries. But it seems Bryan Rafanelli, who has designed and produced some of the US’s most exclusive and high-profile events, including many for Barack Obama at the White House and Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, knows exactly what to include.

In his first book, Rafanelli explains everything, including how to create a beach wedding that’s not tacky and a masquerade fete that’s not ridiculous. His most important rule? Consider everything—from the floor, walls and ceiling to how adding guests will change what you see and why fresh flowers are a game changer. Got Barack and Michelle coming around? This is required reading.

2. The Italian Dream: Wine, Heritage, Soul

by Gelasio Gaetani D’aragona Lovatelli; foreword by Lapo Elkann; published by Assouline

His name says it all: Count Gelasio Gaetani d’Aragona Lovatelli has, for four years, followed what must have been his birthright and travelled the length and breadth of Italy creating a map of the country’s best wineries and places to eat nearby. Italian businessman Lapo Elkann, the heir to the Fiat fortune, wrote the introduction, and together they take you on a journey with them and their beautiful, bohemian, wine-loving friends, who share their passion for the country’s heritage and bounty.

Buy the book and poke your nose behind the private gates of family castles and vineyards, from the foothills of the Alps to the towns of Tuscany and the hot southern beaches, and curse your parents for not raising you Italian.

See also: New Photography Tome Captures Kim Jones's First Year At Dior

3. Cats

by Walter Chandoha; published by Taschen

On a freezing winter’s evening in 1949, the now late Walter Chandoha was walking to his cramped apartment in Queens, New York, when he spotted an abandoned kitten shivering in the snow. He put it in the pocket of his coat to take home to his wife, and little did he know that he had just met the muse that would determine the course of his life. After photographing his new friend obsessively, Chandoha decided to abandon his career in advertising and turn his lens on Loco, as she had been named.

These images marked the start of an extraordinary career that spanned seven decades. Long before the viral YouTube videos and #catsofinstagram, Chandoha became king of the cat photo. From advertisements to greetings cards, jigsaw puzzles to pet food packaging, his images have risen to prominence and even inspired artists, including Andy Warhol. And this bound book of his most endearing photographs is catnip for any lover of felines out there who needs an upgrade from memes to a more artistic realm.

4. A Touch of Style

by Carlos Mota; published by Assouline

The guest list for the London launch of this book by Venezuelan-born, New York-based Carlos Mota is a neat illustration of how revered he is in the fashion and design world. Sipping champagne in the Piccadilly Assouline store last month were some of the biggest names in the industry, including Eugenie Niarchos, Roland Mouret, Arnaud Bamberger, Mimma Viglezio, and Allegra and Ashley Hicks.

Why? Because if you’ve ever read a glossy magazine, then you will no doubt have seen Mota’s work and felt a fleeting—or not so fleeting—moment of envy. His styling and photography are second to none, as is his ability to make a lip-shaped sofa look classy or an indoor tree look urban. His best advice? “I like things more crazy, more messy, more unexpected. If you can only fit six people at your table, invite 40. If you’re tired of always being the life of the party, just make the party come to you.” We like how the man thinks.

See also: If These Walls Could Talk: Kowloon Walled City As Captured By Photographers Ian Lambot And Greg Girard

Tatler Asia
© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.