LIFE IN FASHION: The Wardrobe of Cecil BeatonBENJAMIN WILD Book Number: 92428 Product format: Hardback
Born in Hampstead in 1904, Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton was an Oscar-winning stage and costume designer for films and theatre, portrait and war photographer, diarist, painter and interior designer. He won awards for his work on My Fair Lady and Gigi and Coco in 1970 and lived in great style in his beautiful home at Ashcombe House near Salisbury. 'Since I was probably wearing fur gauntlet gloves, a cloth-of-gold tie, scarlet jersey and flowing 'Oxford Bags', perhaps it is reasonable to suppose that I was noticeable.' Cecil Beaton had a preference for three piece suits, jackets always a size too small that emphasised the waist, and enlarged shirt collars. Bold colours favoured in the 1920s continued to be in use during the 30s. His diaries reveal a particular fondness for deep reds and greens and a general dislike of white and pale colours. Beaton also favoured the use of blocks of solid colour as is evident in the design of the many hotel suites he was employed to decorate in New York. And the blocks of colour were used for his costume designs in Gigi and My Fair Lady. Huge full page images in both colour and black and white show the interiors of his home, out and about with friends, his felt hats, a self portrait photograph and of course with Audrey Hepburn for the film version, 1964. Pictured in a frayed jumper and flannel trousers, his shirts were made by Excello of New York and his shoes by Lobbs. There are his short nipped in cream woollen jackets from Lanz of Salzburg when he is pictured smoking and concentrating on his costume designs at his desk in the Waldorf Astoria, New York January 1934 and in the same outfit with zebra-print pumps in the studio at his home in Wiltshire. In fancy dress 1935, he is a remarkably beautiful man with an exquisite sense of taste in dress and style. Here he is with Greta Garbo and Gary Cooper, making a film with friends and neighbours in the cast, having fun and partying and being seen. From the moment Beaton arrived at Cambridge University in 1922 wearing evening jacket, red shoes, black and white trousers and a large cravat, to his appearance at Truman Capote's 1970 Black and White Ball, he expressed a flamboyant sartorial nonchalance - a sprezzatura. Now his clothing along with other elements of his wardrobe are at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the V&A London, with whom he worked to select and curate and become a champion of dandyism and vintage clothing. Spectacular showcase publication, 144 very large pages, 23.6 x 31.5cm.
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