The other day I picked up his book "The Face of the World" at a secondhand bookstore and have been surprised & charmed by his sharp skill at describing in prose all the very famous people he photographed. What are your thoughts on Beaton- over/underrated, anecdotes, ambition, etc.? Which of his published diaries is the most rewarding?
His designs for the flashbacks in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever are fabulous. He hated them appearing in the same movie as the modern fashions Barbra wore in the 60's-set scenes.
Read his Diaries.
He was a world-class snob. But he worked with other world-class snobs who were all trying to one-up each other.
His stories about the creation of the Broadway musical CoCo and trying to dress Katharine Hepburn as French couturier Chanel are hilarious and a good lesson in humility.
The same goes for his stories about his power struggle with George Cukor on the design of the film of My Fair Lady.
His period costume designs for film still look beautiful and fresh today, in spite of the jarring and ugly contemporary hairdos, of which he may not have had much control.
[quote]The same goes for his stories about his power struggle with George Cukor on the design of the film of My Fair Lady.
R4 takes one of the fundamental, commonplace facts about gay cultural history tries to turn it into a buoy marking Celestial Eleganzaville.
Ass, if you're ignorant don't stick your tongue out while cocking your ample hip, trying to vogue us into not noticing. Get educated, ass.
Beaton's snobbery went with the territory, partly fueled by his middle-class background (one assumes) and partly reflecting the fact that he had one of the most fabulous lives imaginable. His photos are among the best of the century, in the context of his focus. He embraced America, though, and really got his start here. His diaries are great.
He did some fantastic photos of QE2.
R5, if the mere mention of George Cukor's name doesn't bring out the "Oh, queen" in you, you weren't paying attention.
He was the William Ivey Long of his day.
He had great access to royals, he took glamour shots of Princess Paul of Yugoslavia, Princess Marina of Kent, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Princess Alice of Gloucster, Princess Marie-Louise of Schleswig Holstein, many others.
The Hugo Vickers biography is, well, fabulous.
As noted, he was a fierce snob in the way reserved for the upwardly mobile middle (lower-middle?) class.
Cecil Beaton went to art school as an adult. His art teacher told him that he might be able to amuse his friends by sketching portraits, but he would never be an artist.
Well, his teacher was right. His strength was not in his drawing and painting abilities (have you ever seen his costume sketches?) and he never could have made a living as a fine artist.
His great strength was in his sense of design.
[quote]His great strength was in his sense of design.
His strength was in being the ultimate sycophant.
Well, for a whore, he made me look fabulous and did well keeping us, my simple-minded lapdog husband and I, as favourites in the eyes of the masses.