While not a scholarly tome like the last few books mentioned, Assouline's To India with Love offers plenty of inspiration. As mentioned earlier the book is like a sumptuous scrapbook filled with personal photographs and remembrances from designers, filmmakers, actors and artists. Although some of the contributors are household names -- Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Tory Burch -- others are less famous, at least outside the art world, so that keeps things interesting. The reading is easy but there's substance in the commentary. Many of the contributors explain what it is about the Indian aesthetic, the landcape, the light and the extraordinary colors that have inspired Western designers and artists for centuries.
The book is a substantial gift all on its own (and proceeds benefit The Taj Public Welfare Trust) but for anyone inclined to pair it with one more treat, how about Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited? Back in 2007, Brilliant Asylum observed that the art direction of this film is so strong, even the custom designed Louis Vuitton luggage could be considered a fourth key character.
Images two and three are from the newly released To India with Love and are posted with permission from Assouline. Images four and five are from Elle and Brilliant Asylum.