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Three Art and Design Books for Your Winter Reading List

Designing diplomatic reception rooms, Hunt Slonem’s homes, and Yves Saint Laurent goes gold.

Courtesy photos

Yves Saint Laurent: Gold, by Elsa Janssen and Yvane Jacob

Clothing. Jewelry. Accessories. Style icon Yves Saint Laurent has provided the fashion industry with a treasure trove of exquisite work—and gold has played a major role in his impressive collections, legacy, and spirit. From the 1960s to the 2000s, this eye-catching metallic has been featured in items ranging from buttons on pea coats to chic and elegant dresses. This book provides an inside look at how Saint Laurent’s “Midas” touch and his use of intricate techniques have marked his timeless designs. Showcased with beautiful images and resources such as archival documents and interviews, the compilation examines how the arts, culture, and society have influenced the couturier’s creativity and innovation throughout the years.

$50, Abrams.

The Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem, by Brian D. Coleman

Hunt Slonem is celebrated for designing homes that are unique and bold. This collection captures his signature style through the gorgeous photography of John Neitzel and the succinct descriptions of six historic abodes from the designer with their backstories. Readers will have access to a fresh perspective on his maximalist approach and can delve into the distinctive skills detailed in insightful anecdotes of Slonem’s personal world and creative process. With definitive accounts of his use of color, how he arranges antique furnishings, how he combines classic art with contemporary works, and more, this captivating account is inspiring, intriguing, and a must-read guide for all his fans.

$75, Gibbs Smith.

America’s Collection: The Art and Architecture of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State, by Virginia B. Hart

If the U.S. Department of State is the last place you thought to encounter impressive design, you’d be wrong. Because at the Truman Building, the Diplomatic Reception Rooms house one of the most esteemed collections of American decorative and fine arts ever assembled. This text provides details on the history of the rooms’ architecture and items and the story they tell about America and its ideals; it features 150 examples from the 5,000-plus objects found within them. Through all-new photographs and essays, readers will get an up-close look at historic valuables, such as paintings by Gilbert Charles Stuart and porcelain and silver pieces owned by George Washington.

$100, Rizzoli Electa.

First published in the print edition of Boston Home’s Winter 2024 issue, with the headline “By the Book.”