After World War II, Navy photojournalist Wayne F. Miller returned to Chicago, his hometown, and spent three years recording scenes of African-American life in the city's hard-knocks South Side neighborhood. Miller's beautifully composed, intimate pictures are finally collected in Chicago's South Side, 1946–1948 (University of California Press, $25); they show dapper men and women sharing beers at a local bar (love that bebop wallpaper), families squeezed into tight tenement quarters, fervent prayer meetings, and other intense glimpses of a bygone era.
More than one career was launched when an Armani-clad Richard Gere slouched his way across the screen in 1980's American Gigolo. Now the Guggenheim Museum in New York is examining the Italian designer's sexy fashion with a major retrospective (see Artbeat, ), has essays by style gurus Suzy Menkes, Harold Koda, and Patrick McCarthy.
Maybe this is why he charges $600 for dinner. In search of perfect ingredients for his masterly cuisine, the multi-starred Alain Ducasse takes to the American road in Harvesting Excellence (Assouline, $50). During his travels, the French chef plucks stone crabs from warm Florida waters and samples ripe peaches from an Ohio orchard. Despite the somewhat purple prose (a chapter on olive oil is entitled "A Woman and a Dream," another, "Bread That Sings"), Ducasse's love of fresh produce–and America–is evident.
Less is definitely more to John Pawson. The ¸ber-Minimalist architect's creations include the stylish oasis that is the Cathay Pacific lounge in Hong Kong's frenzied Chek Lap Kok airport, and the austere Calvin Klein Madison Avenue flagship store in New York, where stone flooring that's worn to cashmere softness sets off precise displays of clothes. British writer Deyan Sudjic examines these and eight other elegant projects in John Pawson Works (Phaidon, $59.95).
Fashion is ultimately a silly business, at least according to the late Tibor Kalman and his wife, Maira. In their last book together, (un)Fashion (Abrams, $29.95), the design team gently gooses the rag trade with portraits of indigenous clothing from around the world. Only wink-wink-nudge-nudge captions ("Dressed to Kill" for a rear view of a pistol-packin' mama) intrude upon images of plump Aussie lifeguards, bespectacled Bedouins, and cardboard-shod African tribesmen. Knowing Tibor's astute eye for trends, maybe the fashion world will pick up on some of the Kalmans' choices–but then again, judging by that pineapple-juice-can earring, maybe not.
Mort Rosenblum's A Goose in Toulouse and Other Culinary Adventures in France was just published by Hyperion.
His last article for T+L lamented the demise of the traveler's "great escape."