There is nothing quite like an idle hour spent lolling on the sofa or basking in the sun while flicking through the pages of a beautiful, transporting coffee table book. With lavish imagery, exquisite production and dreamy, transporting words to carry us off into a pleasurable world that celebrates the most beautiful things in life, they are a tonic amidst the freneticism of life. This handful, which covers eclectic subject matter from Helmut Newton to the humble lemon, count amongst our new favourites, all published this year.

Issey Miyake, £80

Issey Miyake

In the simply titled Issey Miyake comes the definitive account of the life of the Japanese titan of fashion. Published by Taschen, every layout is lavish while its account is both broad sweep and detailed, examining the designer’s technical innovations from 1960 to 2022 and, moreover, his vision, which was ground-breaking and has since been much imitated. Produced in collaboration with Midori Kitamura, chairman of the Miyake Design Studio who worked Miyake for 45 years, you will not find a more comprehensive nor inspiring account. Simply, if you read one book about the making of this master, let it be this one. Buy it.

Outside In: A Year of Growing & Displaying, £23.04

Sean A Pritchard
Outside In- A Year Of Growing & Displaying

'I devoured this sumptuously British step-by-gorgeous-step guide to when to seed, plant and pluck in a single sitting,’ effuses Richard E Grant when ruminating on garden designer Sean A Pritchard’s debut coffee table tome. We heartily concur; as one of our favourite people on Instagram for the sheer sustaining beauty and inspiration his feed fills our hearts with, we were thrilled to discover the existence of a book to pore over too – and it duly delights. Stuffed with practical advice on how to plant so that there is always something lovely to bring inside, it also features the most ravishing pictures, making every page an unequivocal joy. Buy it.

Audrey Hepburn In Paris, £23.22

Meghan Friedlander and Luca Dotti
Audrey Hepburn In Paris

It is true that coffee table books about the exquisite Audrey Hepburn abound. We are, however, especially taken with this one because it combines unseen photographs and quotes with a love letter to Paris, which we see here through the lens of Ms Hepburn. Taking each aspect of the City Of Lights, it illuminates why it was important and how it shaped her. Buy it.

Vivienne Westwood A to Z: The Life of an Icon: From Anglomania to Zips (A to Z Icons series), £12.80

Nadia Bailey and Helen Green
Vivienne Westwood A To Z

Ever since the moment that her pirate boot-clad foot first entered the London punk fray, the late Dame Vivienne Westwood was set on a path to shake up the world of fashion – guns she stuck to tirelessly until her death in 2022. An activist, an inimitable trailblazer and an icon to her core, this illustrated book looks at the A-Z of her life and legacy. Buy it.

The Gourmand's Lemon. A Collection of Stories and Recipes, £40

The Gourmand

Where would we be without the humble lemon, one quick squeeze of which has the power to lighten, lift and transform our culinary experience? Through the pages of this glorious book, the experts at The Gourmand, delve into ‘the literary, linguistic, historic, and gastronomic legacy of lemons, where the line between food and art is happily blurred.’ There are recipes, there are stories – and, crucially, there is deeper understanding of this exceptional citrus fruit to be found within these exceptional pages. As Jennifer Higgie notes, ‘Lemons are symbols, ciphers, ingredients; conduits for meaning and metaphors; little cathedrals, fruit for dreaming.’ Buy it.

Fashion's Big Night Out: A Met Gala Lookbook, £12.99

Kristen Bateman

If, on the first Monday in May, you are routinely glued to the media outlets that dedicate their front pages to the best and most arresting looks as seen at New York’s Met Gala Ball, then this book should shoot straight to the top of your most-wanted list. Charting the history of the ball from its inaugural event in 1948 to the iconic moments and the most thrillingly risky ensembles on its red carpet, Fashion's Big Night Out has all the glitz and glamour of New York’s hottest ticket, while also celebrating an event which fuses art and culture with fashion. Huge fun. Buy it.

Patterns of Portugal: A Journey Through Colors, History, Tiles, and Architecture, £23

Christine Chitnis
Patterns Of Portugal

An ode to the beauty of Portugal, this sensational book takes us on a photographic tour of one the most exquisite countries, whose charms are nonetheless oft-overlooked in favour of some of its southern European neighbours. Detailing the patterns and colours that are threated throughout its idyllic landscapes and its history-steeped cities, this is a truly transporting tome. As they say, ‘Throughout these vibrant pages, you'll discover the vivid stories behind each color and pattern, transporting you to the gorgeous fields of Alentejo, the sparkling waters of the Algarve, the busy streets of Lisbon, the lush valleys of the Douro, and beyond.’ Yes please. Buy it.

Helmut Newton, £15

Helmut Newton

‘To the question: ‘What people do you like to photograph?’ my answer is: ‘Those I love, those I admire and those I hate.’’ So said Helmut Newton, whose iconic work is celebrated in the glossy pages of this small but might tome. As they say, ‘Newton’s images straddle the knife-edge of ambiguity, teasing out allusions and social observations that both entice and challenge their viewers. In this portfolio, Newton’s unique perspective is effectively showcased, reflecting the complex undercurrents that give his images their distinct character across the breadth of his editorial work in the fields of fashion and portraiture.’ With images of the great and good, from Princess Caroline of Monaco and Charlotte Rampling to Paloma Picasso, and Karl Lagerfeld, this is an absolute cracker. Buy it.