Saturday, May 30, 2009

Party Like It's 1969

Dear Bill was recently sweet enough to say a kind word about the new banner, which made me out of all proportion pleased, as I never know if anyone pays attention to this occasionally changing feature of the Café. My skills at digital manipulation are slight (no cracks, please), and the banners are about as techno as I get.

This current one, as you can see from the snap above, is a detail of a photo by the remarkable Slim Aarons, that indefatigable chronicler of pretty people in pretty places. It's a garden party in Miami, in 1970.

There is something incredibly evocative about this particular subset of Aarons's pictures; they are like Johnson-era variations on the rococo féte galante, with socialites in hostess gowns replacing frolicking court ladies and the gardens of the rich standing in for those of the king. Here we have a Beverly Hills tea party, circa 1960.

Whether Miami, Beverly Hills, or, as here, Marbella, there is a stillness and serenity in these pictures that one suspects was absent in the actual events, where shrill conversation about Jackie and Liz and assassinations would have competed with Sérgio Mendes on the hi-fi.

In any case, these pictures make this fairly recent past look as exotic and distant as a dream; it's hard to imagine that some of these people might still be alive. One wonders if it all feels as far away to them as it does to us...

10 comments:

  1. i always notice your banner photos. i feel like i've entered a little cafe off the beaten path.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. likeJohnson-era fetes gallantes

    so very perfectly put.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had assumed these were all cinema verite glimpses into the Muscato life. Imagine my disappointment.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, don't feel badly, darling, in a symbolic sense, they are. This party, for example, recalls a very similar one here at the Villa, although the principal difference is that the hostess gown was white and the picture hat pink.

    Besides, there are some people still recovering from the shocking revelation that I am not, in fact, Kay Francis in 1946. It's just that kind of world, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I always love your blog & I find this to be your best banner yet.
    Best wishes from Portland!

    ReplyDelete
  6. but you are kay francis....

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had a Slim Aarons book stolen from my desk. I know, it shouldn't have been there in the first place. But still.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're NOT Kay Francis?

    I demand a refund!

    ReplyDelete
  9. THANK YOU for these photos. I have a couple of Slim Aarons coffee-table books but I hadn't seen these photos. It's fun to linger over the luscious details in each photo.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've seen an Aarons photo circa 1967 of fabulous people in stretch ski pants having a fondue-and-cocktails party at the top of a ski run in Aspen. It might be a good header photo for this fabulous blog.

    ReplyDelete