poolside holiday reads include Friedrich Nietzsche

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Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O'Grady in The White Lotus. Image credit: Binge/White Lotus

Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O’Grady in The White Lotus. Image credit: Binge/White Lotus

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The very hot case for Hot Girl Books

ANNIE BROWN30 SEPT 2022

It fits with fashion’s long-standing literary affinity, and the reclamation of hotness. 

Of all the excellent scenes in the Emmy-scooping White Lotus, including Jennifer Coolidge’s service to caftans, it is an exchange between college student best-friends and mean girls Paula, played by Brittany O’Grady and Olivia, played by Sydney Sweeney, that sticks.

In the series the pair’s poolside holiday reads include Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Portable Nietzsche and Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble.

When asked if they actually read them (by that super bro-y guy, who else!) Sweeney’s character retorts back, 

“We have a stylist pick our outfits and then we have a book stylist pick out our books.”

The scene embodies two things, the world of Hot Girl Books —10.6 million TikTok views on the hashtag alone and its own category on Goodreads— and also how books have in recent years become the ultimate fashion girl clout.

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Fashion and literature has long been entwined though. This is evident in creative directors such as Kim Jones at Fendi taking inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando for Fendi haute couture and Max Mara’s Ian Griffiths using Françoise Sagan‘s slim and scandalous 1954 French novel Bonjour Tristesse to inform his As well as Joan Didion, revered for her brevity in words and style (name a fashion girl who hasn’t saved her packing list) appearing in the Juergen Teller-lensed 2015 campaign for Celine. Virginia Woolf herself loved clothes, though berated herself for this. It’s easy to think she’d have loved Phoebe Philo’s clothes for thinking women!

Chanel has a literary salon, hosted by Charlotte Casiraghi and a guest that has included Leila Sevani and Tilda Swinton. Its modus operandi is to champion women writers. Last year Valentino partnered with consultant Karah Preiss and Emma Roberts’ social media book club Belletrist, for an advertising campaign called “The Narratives.” The second instalment included contributions from writers including Douglas Coupland and Emily Ratajowski.  

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