Luxe, Calme et Volupté: Slim Aarons’s Photographs of Women Who Make Leisure Look Good


“Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” was how the late photographer Slim Aarons described his main preoccupation. It’s a formula that stands the test of time: One of Aarons’s jet set photographs — scenes of aristos at leisure he documented from the 40’s through the 80’s — was just at the center of the designer Thom Browne’s spring 2017 show; there will be an Aarons exhibit opening at New York’s Staley-Wise gallery later this month; and there is a new book, Slim Aarons: Women, by Aarons’ former longtime assistant, Laura Hawk (the fifth volume in Abrams’ Aarons collection), out this week. The edition spotlights the beauties who populated his opulent scenes, everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to his daughter and wife, alongside a bevy of princesses and socialites.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Laura Hawk, Villa El Rincón, Marbella, Spain, 1985.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Donna Stefanella Vanni Calvello di San Vincenzo in her family’s residence, Palazzo Gangi, Palermo, 1984.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Skiers basking in the winter sun, Cranmore Mountain Resort, North Conway, New Hampshire, 1955.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Rita (Lorita) Dewart, Hollywood, 1954.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Lady Daphne Cameron atop a tiger pelt in the trophy room of Laddie Sanford’s Palm Beach house, 1959.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Dobbie Coleman Bassett, daughter of the Duchess of Manchester, at the stables with her daughter, Caroline; Pebble Beach, California, 1976.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Diane and Potter Palmer and family, Lake Forest, Illinois, ca. 1958.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Model Lillian Crawford, Palm Beach, 1970.

Slim Aarons, courtesy of Abrams

Emilia and Tina Fanjul, wives of the Cuban sugar barons José and Alfonso Fanjul, Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, 1990.