REVIEW | Fashion guru Edward Enninful’s Visible Man is inspiration for your new year’s resolutions

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A Visible Man by Edward Enninful. (Bloomsbury)
A Visible Man by Edward Enninful. (Bloomsbury)

BOOK: A Visible Man by Edward Enninful (Bloomsbury)

People often say that physical books are better than ebooks because they like holding and smelling the pages. I’m a heathen – electronic books are easier to travel with – but Enninful’s autobiography almost made a believer out of me: the cover image, layout, font choices and double serving of image inserts (in addition to black-and-white prints on the main pages) make for a gorgeous book, one worthy of the British Vogue editor-in-chief and the European editorial director of Condé Nast. It doesn’t belong on a bookshelf or a nightstand; it belongs on the coffee table.

This elegance spills over to the structure. There are eight chapters corresponding to the countries and cities the author has lived in, or to pivotal moments in his fast-paced life. The son of a Ghanaian military general and a clothes’ maker, he, like his siblings, absorbed his father’s and mother’s strong work ethic. Ghana’s political landscape becomes tricky, so the family hightails it to London; this is the city of culture shocks, cold mornings and racism. It’s also where Enninful the shy nerd develops into one of the cool kids, and then a model. He successfully juggles studies, a broadening work portfolio, and an extensive nightlife. Even so, there are lines he’s too cautious to just cross. "James was gay, Michael was gay, Simon was gay, Rowan was gay, and I was, I don’t know: flickering?"

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