Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, and published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, takes a cue from the exotic encyclopedias of the 16th century, which brimmed with mysterious artifacts, focusing on the elegant, the rare, the commonplace and the delightful. A compendium of luxury that merges whimsy and practicality, the book traipses through all the fine arts, showcasing every sphere of style: fashion, food, travel, home, garden and beauty.
In the spirit of renewing old sources of beauty, and using an anecdotal approach, each entry proffers an array of engaging stories. Among them: the explosive history of champagne; the art of lounging on a divan; the emergence of “frillies,” the first lacy, racy lingerie; the luxe legend of sweet-smelling saffron; the riot incited by the appearance of London’s first top hat; Julia Child’s tip for cooking the perfect omelet; the polarizing practice of wearing red lipstick during WWII; Louis XIV’s fondness for the luscious Bartlett pear; the Indian origin of badminton; Europe’s 17th century false beauty mark fad; the evolution of the Japanese kimono; the pilgrimage of Central Park’s Egyptian obelisk; and the thrill of dining alfresco.
Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is a lifestyle guide for the Francophile and the Anglomaniac, the gourmet and the style maven, the armchair traveler and the art-lover. It’s an homage to the esoteric world of glamour that doesn’t require much spending, but makes us feel rich.
to get in touch: jessica.kerwin.jenkins (at) gmail.com