Palm Beach Style

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The young matrons of Palm Beach wearing designs by Suzie Zuzek for Lilly Pulitzer, 1964. Included among them (in yellow dress with pink head wrap) is New York artist Wendy Lehman Vanderbilt, who appeared in the first advertisements for Pulitzer's fashion line. (Photo: Slim Aarons/ Getty Images)

Palm Beach Style is almost synonymous with Lilly Pulitzer and the artist Suzie Zuzek, who created many of the designer’s iconic prints. Some of the best examples of this distinctive style were captured by photographer Slim Aarons, who frequently visited Palm Beach during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

A new book featuring more than fifty never-before-published images focusing exclusively on fashion called SLIM AARONS: STYLE — by Slim Aarons’ Archivist/Getty Images Curator Shawn Waldron and Fashion Writer Kate Betts, with foreword by Designer Jonathan Adler was recently published by Abrams (October 19, 2021; U.S. $85.00; Hardcover).

George “Slim” Aarons (1916-2006) is regarded as one of the most influential magazine photographers of his generation. A WWII U.S. Army photographer, he returned from the war with a mission of his own: to photograph, “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” From 1947 to 1993, on assignment for Holiday, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Look, Venture, and Travel & Leisure, he traveled the world documenting the rich and famous at home and at play. Slim’s iconic photographs provide a rare glimpse into a golden age of wealth, privilege, beauty and leisure the pillar stones of Palm Beach.

Slim insisted he was not a fashion photographer: “I didn’t do fashion. I did the people in their clothes that became the fashion.” Despite his claims, his photography is indelibly linked to the world of fashion. His photographs of high society and socialites being unambiguously themselves have been, and continue to be, an unwavering source of style inspiration.

Lucy Douglas Cochrane Guest, better known as CZ, with one of her beloved dogs, at Villa Artemis, Palm Beach, 1955. (Slim Aarons/Getty Images)

The first Slim Aarons book to focus exclusively on fashion, SLIM AARONS: STYLE, is a comprehensive collection of the photographer’s most stylish work. Drawn from his 40-year career, it includes postwar black-and-white fashion photography as well as vibrant portraits of the fashionable elite. Its pages are graced by iconic Palm Beach figures including Jackie Kennedy, CZ Guest, Joanne Connelly, Florence Pritchett Smith, Mary Hartline Donahue, Jorie Butler Kent, Inger and Harry Loy Anderson, Jr.,  Mrs. A. Atwater Kent (formerly Hope Hewlett Parkhurst), Stephen “Laddie” Sanford, Wendy Vanderbilt, Jim Kimberly, Alice Topping, and Patsy, Peter and Lilly Pulitzer.

To pick up a copy of SLIM AARONS: STYLE, click HERE

You can’t possibly talk about Palm Beach Style without mentioning cosmetics and fragrance titan Estée Lauder and her uber-stylish granddaughter, Aerin Lauder, who spoke with Steven Stolman as part of his Conversations on Style series at the Society of the Four Arts this past week.

Estée and Joseph Lauder at their first house on Everglade Avenue in Palm Beach (Photo Courtesy of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County).
“Telephone. Telegraph. Tell a Woman.” as Estée Lauder would say. (Photo by W.C.Runder, courtesy of the Leonard A. Lauder Estée Lauder Archives.)

A businesswoman, matriarch, and innovator, Estée Lauder was in a league of her own. From a humble background growing up in Queens as the child of Hungarian immigrants, Estée’s ambition and hard work found her tremendous success, transforming a small skincare cream business she started in her kitchen into a worldwide portfolio of beauty brands. Ever principled and determined, her charming ebullience took her far — she was the first to harness the power of word-of-mouth advertising, and to realize that a free gift with purchase would do well to win her customer’s loyalty.

As a true visionnaire, Estée Lauder succeeded in building her cosmetics empire through talent, determination, hard work, and kindness, while still maintaining a rich and fulfilling family life. Adding to her iconic legacy was her eye for interiors, a reputation for hosting fabulous dinner parties, and her countless notable friends such as Princess Grace of Monaco, Hubert de Givenchy, Diana, Princess of Wales, Nancy Reagan, and Frank Sinatra, among other luminaries.

Estée Lauder loved to host intimate dinner parties for friends and family at home in both New York and Palm Beach. (Photo courtesy of the Leonard A. Lauder Estée Lauder Archives.)

To celebrate her life and important influence in business, at home, and on the town, Aerin and her sister, Jane Lauder, offer an in-depth look at what a beloved tour de force Estée was, as expressed through her personal letters, family photographs, company archives, and more. Published this fall 2021, by Assouline, as part of their Legends Collection, Estée Lauder: A Beautiful Life is already sold out online, but a few signed copies of the book have been put aside for those visiting Aerin’s Worth Avenue boutique.

Estée with granddaughter, Aerin.

“My grandmother, Estée, was an incredible role model. When she launched her business in the 1940s, she was way ahead of her time and taught me so many of the important lessons I know today. She passed on the importance and value of family, passion, commitment and beauty in everything you do. This book is a personal expression of her ‘Beautiful Life’. I hope her story inspires you as much as it has inspired me,” stated Aerin commenting on the publication of the book.

Aerin Lauder with Steven Stolman for his Conversations on Style series at The Society of the Four Arts this week. (Photo by Annie Watt)
The interview took place live in Johnson Hall at the Society of the Four Arts.

A creative visionary, tastemaker, and working mother of two, Aerin Lauder is a modern-day style icon. Committed to living life more beautifully, she founded her eponymous luxury lifestyle brand AERIN in 2012. With a love for interiors and a talent for creating warm, inviting spaces, Aerin’s elegant, effortless aesthetic is a reflection of her unique upbringing.

As she says, “Beauty is my heritage, but home and accessories are my passion. There was an opportunity in the market for a lifestyle brand based on feminine, modern and effortless products with strong heritage. I decided to launch AERIN and make the whole concept of beauty part of the way we live today. Aerin brings ease and beauty into all aspects of life and, as a dedicated philanthropist, into the lives of others.”

Aerin at a book signing for Estée Lauder: A Beautiful Life (Rizzoli Books) at her Worth Avenue boutique.

Aerin’s sister, Jane Lauder, has over two decades of beauty industry experience, including more than 23 years at The Estée Lauder Companies. Formerly the Global Brand President of Clinique, Jane currently serves as the corporation’s first ever Executive Vice President, Enterprise Marketing and Chief Data Officer, responsible for developing company-wide strategies to accelerate ELC’s growth. She resides in New York and Palm Beach with her family.

Read more about Estée Lauder’s Palm Beach Era by Augustus Mayhew, HERE

Aerin and Jane Lauder at lunch with Eleanora Kennedy in Palm Beach. (Photo courtesy of Eleanora Kennedy/Instagram).

Speaking of Palm Beach Style, artist/designer Ala von Auersperg invited friends and clients to “rock their kaftans” for their season kick-off party outside her boutique on Via Mario, off Worth Avenue.

Ala and Ralph Isham with George Ledes outside the Ala von Auersperg boutique on Via Mario.
Cindy Rinfret, Jackie Ekholm (Photo by Annie Watt)
Trish Carroll and Yaz Hernandez (Photo by Annie Watt)
Mark Walter, Jayne Chase, Kip O’Brien, Amy Hoadley (Photo by Annie Watt)

Rosé was served while friends returning to Palm Beach for the season caught-up on their summer travels which included trips to Marbella, Monaco, Cap D’Antibes, Paris, Mexico, Nantucket, The Hamptons, The Adirondacks, Antiqua, Aspen, and Newport, of course!

Guests were then shown how to create their own custom Ala von Auersperg kaftans!

Models rocking their Ala von Auersperg kaftans on Via Mario.

The opening of the Samuel Owen Gallery on Royal Poinciana Way was also a very stylish event thanks to glamorous gallerist Devon McCready who collaborated with Palm Beach Illustrated and designer Alvin Valley to help get the party started.

Samuel Owen Gallery’s Devon McCready with Designer Alvin Valley, Whitney Schott wearing Alvin Valley, and Palm Beach Illustrated Editor Daphne Nikolopoulos.
Nick Hissom and Kameron Ramirez.
Nick Mele and Bettina Anderson.
Rob Gray and Alex Hamer with Designer Alvin Valley.
J. Logan Horne.
Tyler Tananbaum and Whitney Schott.
Tom Shaffer and Margaret Luce.
Spencer Schlager, Annabella Rockwell, and Nick Hissom.
Alexandra Sweeney Vesty, Tristan Dyer, Sue Jin Lee, and Michael Gregson Reinert.

Next up: A very stylish book signing with Laurence Leamer author of Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal and a Swan Song for an Era on December 14th from 5pm – 7pm at the Palm Beach Book Store.

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