I recently read a book called Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, a fictional account of Truman Capote and his darling swans, the ladies with whom he lunched, travelled, dined and gossiped during the 1950s and 1960s. Of course, when I finished reading I did what any fan of gorgeous vintage glamour would do, I created Pinterest boards of inspiration filled with photographs of those delectable and stylish swans.
Babe Paley, a Vogue fashion editor and style icon, she was Truman’s bestie until he betrayed her by sharing thinly veiled confidences in his writing. A sleek, pared down look was Babe’s style, honed to a fine glossy finish courtesy of American Vogue and a taste for haute couture. I can imagine her wearing this darling 1950s swing dress, add a few carefully chosen jewels and you are hot-to-trot.
Pursued by Clark Cable, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway, Slim Keith was adventurous, sporty and a go-getter. She introduced Lauren Bacall to Howard Hawks and was instrumental in negotiating the film rights for The Sound of Music – so a real Hollywood pedigree! She wore classic 1950s tailoring, slightly masculine but it worked with that delicate bone structure and fine, golden hair. Slim Keith would have rocked our Dee Dee full circle dress in striking houndstooth check. I suspect she may have been a little too refined for one of our playful, frothy petticoats, preferring the flowing draped effect of Dee Dee without the additional volume, but you can make your own mind up.
C.Z. Guest was sporty, more interested in horses than haute couture. Despite this, she had a reputation as a trendsetter and a look that even now appears modern, unfussy and timeless. She favoured a red lip, a dramatic contrast to her blonde hair and sporty wardrobe. I think we all know a C.Z., don’t we? I suspect they pretend to be unconcerned with fashion because to let on how much they care would be frightfully uncool. I’m not fooled, I know she would have adored the easy-to-wear quality of our 1950s full circle skirts. The cool colours and nipped-in waist of our Tan Tartan Bonny Skirt would have looked just swell at the country club.
We may not have a dinner date at The Stork Club, but we can still dress like a Manhattan socialite. Make the experience complete by drinking cold Martinis and gathering your friends together to bicker about which one of you was the real inspiration for Holly Golightly.