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60s Photographer Slim Aarons and the Beautiful People

Gather round my friends! I’m on vacation, but I have a little fun eye candy to share. Have you seen the posh world of photographer Slim Aarons? If not I think you’ll love it. Slim’s camera lense perfectly captured the jet set glitterati of the 50s and 60s. His subjects were primarily upscale and wealthy, from young Hollywood starlets to Pucci-clad Italian princesses and WASPy American socialites. His photos have this amazing combination of day-in-the-life and other-worldliness. Let’s be clear though, this “day-in-the-life”  is a slice of life like no other! It has been said that Slim perfected the “environmental portrait,” so rather than having his subjects pose in the traditional stiff-n-formal manner, he featured people in their natural environment. Slim said it best, he photographed “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” I love that. (I also love how I keep calling him Slim, like we were best pals or something…) Such a great way to have documented this lost era of style. 
His images have been very influential on modern day photographers—and while his work is often imitated, nothing beats the real deal.


Here is the brilliant Babe Paley, chillin’ by the pool in 1959. I really love old socialite names…

This is one of his most famous pieces, featuring American socialite CZ Guest wandering poolside with her little boy and their pups. (see? another grand name!)

“Two bikini-clad holidaymakers enjoy a glass of wine outside the Carlton Hotel, Cannes.”
I wonder….is a holidaymaker like a freshmaker? I think I shall refer to myself as a holidaymaker from now on.

And apparently I must always carry a drink in hand.

Oh, you crazy white people!

This must have been closer to the early 70s…the swingin’ young crowd. The names on the credits for this image are awesome:

“Circa 1970, British photographer Lord Lichfield holding a Hasselblad camera. On his arm is Marina Lante della Rovere, to the left is Ines Torlonia, and reclining is Signoria Gancia, Porto Ercole, Italy.”

I love this “couple” shots. A rolls, two dogs and some far out psychedelic pants are all a fella really needs. I almost don’t even notice her glam lounge wear. Almost.

This next dapper gent kills me…so rich, so orange! And that’s quite a deep dish couch, m’lady is lounging on.

Slim photographed many well known “celebs” of the day. Here we have Truman Capote “relaxing with a book and a cigarette”. And five ceramic cats.

Yes. It’s Joan Collins. And yes. Her poodle is pink.

Mexican film starlet Dolores Del Rio and her itsy bitsy teeny weeny bandeau top.

And finally….

This is exactly how I take my breakfast—in bed, with my monocle and a slice of melon. FABULOUS!
Sigh. Call me crazy but I just love the weird WASP-y world of Slim Aarons.  Signing off, your intrepid Holidaymaker….

{Images and More Images}

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Posted in Best of Alix.


8 Responses

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  1. knitxcore says

    these are all so good! *swooooon*

  2. bron @ baby space says

    Omigosh, I LOVE these images. Such character! Thanks for sharing Alix :)

  3. lara says

    This was a fabulous post!!

  4. Dottie says

    You know, I’ve always wanted a monocle…

  5. Justin Brilliant says

    Hi there, the picture of the woman with too much make-up on, sipping that orange drink is NOT Barbara ‘Babe’ Paley. I don’t think Mrs. Paley would be caught dead in the Kabuki-style make-up, ugh…

    However, the second picture of her leaning up againt the pool house in Round Hill is just as one remembers her: quietly elegant, glittering and kind.

    • Alix says

      Hi Justin! I wasn’t actually saying that the woman sipping the drink was Babe. If you notice, all my comments fall just above the photo I’m talking about—i was only referring to the image of her by the pool /poolhouse. I guess it was just an unfortunate coincidence that the image above happened to be a pool shot as well! haha. Glad you appreciate the elegant beauty of Mrs. Paley as well.
      : )

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Links I Love | Olivine's Charm School linked to this post on August 19, 2011

    [...] post from Modern Kiddo about Slim Aarons photography is hilarious.  You must read all the [...]

  2. Fashion Icons By The Pool | Tina Adams Consulting linked to this post on July 10, 2013

    [...] One such fashionista by the pool taken by Slim Aarons in 1959.  via modernkiddos [...]



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