Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's in Their Library: Lynn Goldfinger, aka Paris Hotel Boutique

Many of you are fans of Lynn Goldfinger's wonderful online shop Paris Hotel Boutique, and for good reason. Lynn has the uncanny knack of finding treasures of all kinds-hotel silver and china, vintage art, and antique furniture- that evoke that romance of a bygone era. (Not, however, a cheesy, romantic bygone era. Think Belle Epoque Paris or London's Jazz Age, for example.)

To me, what really sets Lynn's shop apart from the others is her selection of vintage books. Subjects range from cookery to fashion to design and travel, but there is a common thread that ties these books together, and that is the books' covers. Have you noticed how Lynn manages to find books that have absolutely fantastic covers?

In a twist on my library series, I thought it would be fun to have Lynn provide us with a list of her favorite cover art. While it's true that you can't judge a book by its cover, a colorful, whimsical, or downright chic dust jacket certainly entices you to pick a book off of the shelf. And you know, there's really nothing wrong if you do buy a book based solely on its cover design. I've done it before, and I ended up reading- and enjoying- books that otherwise I might not have purchased.

When asked about her love of smart dust jackets, Lynn responded "I don't know what got me hooked on them. I must confess that I'm not an avid reader, but there is something about vintage book covers that intrigues me; their artwork, simplicity, design, interesting titles, etc. They are like small works of art. Current books just don't have the pizazz that these old covers had. Since I love all things vintage, books fall right into that category."

Portrait of New York and Face of the World by Cecil Beaton. "I love all of the dust jackets that Cecil Beaton designed. Brilliant works of art!"

Pierre Balmain- My Years and Seasons "A rose is a rose...what a pretty cover. Quite an interesting autobiography about this French fashion designer."

Bergdorf's on the Plaza by Booton Herndon. "This is one of my favorite jackets with a wraparound image of the Plaza Hotel illustrated by Irving Docktoer. The book is quite rare. I have my copy proudly displayed in my office."

Decorating is Fun! "Two rare editions of Decorating is Fun! by the fabulous Dorothy Draper. I just love the whimsical green or pink striped covers. And they have wonderful pink endpapers as well."

Esme of Paris by Esme Davis. "Great whimsical circus-themed dust jacket. The blue & red colors compliment each other well. It's also a fascinating autobiography of Esme Davis, famous for her fashionable perfumes."

David Hicks on Living - With Taste "Guess there is something about stripes on a dust jacket that tickles my fancy. This is a particularly good book as well!"

I Married Adventure and Four Years in Paradise by Osa Johnson. "We all know how trendy these book covers have become. You'll especially see I Married Adventure displayed in just about every home decor magazine. The zebra and giraffe stripes make these books better without their dust jackets. Also, the giraffe cover (Four Years in Paradise) is actually more rare than I Married Adventure!"

Goodbye Picasso by David Douglas Duncan. "According to the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the jacket design is based on a photo-collage created using Picasso's self-portrait as an owl- with holes for his eyes- and a photograph by David Douglas Duncan. Very cool indeed!"

The Pink Palace by Sandra Lee Stuart. "Let's say I love anything pink as much as I love hotels. Especially the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is the epitome of luxury! Those paired together makes this one of my favorite book covers!"

The Snob Spotter's Guide by Philippe Jullian. "What's not to love about this cover? The fun title...the whimsical illustration of dressed up animals with a large fleur de lis."

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. "A classic. Simple cover in bright orange. A much better cover than the reproductions of this classic book."

The World in Vogue. "Graphic and eye-catching cover from 1963. Must read Courtney at Style Court's recent post about this cover and the reissue of the book."

Le Nouveau Voyage de France "This book from 1899 doesn't have a dust jacket and it's sublime without it. An elaborate robin's egg blue cloth cover with a gilt and pictorial spine. Wonderful Art Nouveau motif with birds, flowers, and plants. Page edges are gilt. One of my absolute favorites! And it's a large book to boot. Looks great on a coffee table!"


  1. I was going to say that my books with the most striking covers have all some from Lynn -- then I scrolled down and almost each one was on the list! So, yes, I agree, she has an amazing eye for cover art :)

  2. P.S. Great post Lynn and Jennifer!

  3. What beautiful book covers. This post has me thinking I will go back and look at some of the older books in my collection. But I love the Osa Johnson, David Duncan and the Truman Capote book covers.

  4. The Cecil Beaton Books are wonderful in many ways but the dust jackets are the perfect book for the top of a pile of books.


  5. I too very often do judge a book by its cover. Most have not disappointed in content.
    Beautiful collection of covers. Some I have in my collection and a few others I would love to have.

  6. Art is everywhere! This collection is amazing. A nun in my grade school once told me not to judge a book by it's cover, I still do though!!

  7. I am still obsessing over these covers since I first discovered Paris Hotel Boutique. Lynn has such a great eye and definitely sparked my love affair with all things Beaton.

  8. As if the gorgeous pieces from Paris Hotel Boutique didn't make me long for a more stylish interior... now my library looks deplorable! ;) What a phenomenal collection, Lynn! Such stylishness, of course. A joy. :)

  9. Very good idea Peak! It made for an entertaining read.

    I'm in the middle of "The Glass of Fashion" by Beaton. He was a good little sketch artist!

    Capote's book was the inspiration for the base colour of the walls in our library. In retrospect....

  10. I was so happy to find this post!


    Rebecca June

  11. Love Lynn, love her picks! What an inspiring post.

  12. Phenomenal post - I never wanted it to end. Guess I'll havt to cruise on over to Paris Hotel Boutique to continue the romance.... EEE

  13. The Cecil Beaton covers are my favourite. Its like stumbling across someone's personal diary with the quirky and whimsical drawings!

  14. Just found you via Paris Boutique Hotel - absolutely love Lynn's taste! And the Esme of Paris is one of my favorites ever!

  15. Thanks everybody! Honored to be featured on Jennifer's blog!! Lynn

  16. LOVE them all! Lynn is such a delight---it's no wonder that her bookshelf is as stylish as she is!

  17. Just gorgeous book jackets! I love all of them, and I have to say, the giraffe and zebra ones are on the top of my list!

  18. Mary Ellen9:29 AM

    Wonderful post! Thanks for (re)introducing me to some wonderful books.

  19. Great pics...these covers are sensational, xv.

  20. I LOVE Paris Hotel Boutique! What a fantastic collection of titles! This is by far one of my favorite series.
    Thanks Jennifer.