We're honored to present a reading list given to us by one of our heroes, Cecilia Dean. Cecilia is co-founder of Visionaire, possibly the most inventive and consistently astounding quarterlies ever to exist. Since 1991, Visionaire has produced limited-edition fashion and art publications that challenge what a magazine can be. Each themed issue is a unique experience in itself-- a set of perfumes (42 SCENT), vinyl records (53 SOUND), or indestructible metal plates (63 FOREVER)-- and features contributors from a wide range of creative backgrounds. Visionaire has grown to also produce films, events, and installations that continue to intersect art, fashion, and contemporary culture.
Cecilia Dean is a New York-based entrepreneur who curates luxury fashion and art experiences and runs Visionaire with James Kaliardos. She is also a former model, which is how she met some of Visionaire's earliest collaborators like Bill Cunningham, Inez and Vinoodh, Richard Avedon, and Maison Margiela. Dean has taught a course at Parsons in publication design and continues to innovate with every publication or project that she has produced.
Cecilia says of her list:
"Even though I majored in English and French literature, I don't have a particularly refined taste when it comes to reading.
I love a riveting page-turner and relish stories of "man against nature." I couldn't put these books down, they are such edge-of-your seat adventures from the comfort of my bed which is where I love to read before I go to sleep. I had to force myself to stop reading in order to go to sleep and I would wake up a little earlier to catch a few chapters.'
Endurance: Shakleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
As opposed to men pitting themselves against nature by choice, I also gravitate towards the plight of women pitted against men and society, not by their choice. These books were fascinating. I often look up facts and images while reading for an even richer experience. To see what life was like for these women who span the entire gamut of economic and social strata. It makes me realize how far we have come, but also how far we must still go. Reading these books makes me so grateful for my independence.
Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser
House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood