Slim Aarons focused on, “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” This eminent mid-century photographer and portraitist captured and defined quintessential moments of wealth, class, beauty, fashion, and design that have become timeless models of what it looks like to live “the high life”.
While most of his subjects were celebrities, royalty, political figures, or prominent businessmen, Slim had a unique ability to encapsulate their most authentic and at-ease selves. His photos of these people in their natural element have inspired entire fashion lines, architectural trends, and interior design. Most notably, Slim’s “Polo Player” is a clear influence for Ralph Lauren’s Polo line— from the boots and attire to the dog and hatchback car, this image undoubtedly prompted a fashion empire.
One of Slim’s most iconic photos, “Poolside Gossip”, is the epitome of mid-century style and architecture. Shot at the famous Kauffman House in Palm Springs, CA, every detail is a symbol of glamor and modernism that continues to inspire interior, fashion, and furniture designers and architects alike. Even the umbrella in the background is exactly reproduced today by Santa Barbara Umbrellas. We were inspired by the clean lines and angles, and can’t help but envision these Giulio Moscatelli armchairs, Italian leather armchairs, and/or Modernist suede sofa in the living room.
Slim did not use makeup or hair stylists, a lighting crew, or any other assistance for his photos— just his eye and his camera. Many of the people he photographed have commented they didn’t even know when he was taking the picture, they just went about their business and he was able to capture the perfect moment of beauty, honesty, and life. An ideal example of this is a wide-eyed Jackie Kennedy finishing dinner at the April in Paris Ball in 1959. Fun fact: Slim had to crop out John Kennedy, whose arm can be seen in the bottom left corner, because he was blinking.
Slim Aarons’ timeless work continues to breathe life into the picturesque (no pun intended) world of the mid-century elite— providing a limitless source of creative inspiration for all forms of art.
Egon Scheile’s journey into the Art world was a dynamic one. After studying under the esteemed Gustav Klimt in the midst of the rise of Viennese Modernism, the ‘Wiener Moderne,’ he dove into a practice all his own. He honed it, explored the human form, and rivaled social convention of the time. From an 11-year-old boy who sketched trains incessantly to a budding expressionist under the early tutelage of artist Ludwig Karl Strauch, he was accepted to the Kunstgewerbeschule (presently the University of Applied Arts) in Vienna, where Gustav Klimt had preceded him. In 1906, only one year later at the age of 16, he moved on to attend the more traditional Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts).
Scheile was not only influenced by Klimt, but by the expressionist work of Oscar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, and Vincent Van Gogh. Though elements of Art Nouveau can be discerned within his early works, his visual kaleidoscope coalesced with human sexuality and fed into a shocking depiction not only of the human body, but the palette as well. The positioning is somewhat exaggerated verging upon the grotesque. Yet there is movement, emotional intimacy, tension, eroticism, and solemnity doused in vivid color against a pale backdrop. This propels his figures into the foreground with unabashed vigor.
One hundred years after his death at the tender age of 28, we must examine how far beyond the public comfort level he chose to push figurative art. For even now, society has repressed the artist’s expression, particularly regarding the depiction of nudity. He is revered and censored simultaneously. After the advertising campaign was designed by the Vienna Tourist Board several locations, mainly the London Tube and an airport in Germany, found the exposed genitalia too offensive a visual for public viewing. As The Leopold Museum, which houses the most numerous works by Schiele under one roof, and other museums across Austria host a retrospective to commemorate the centenary of his passing, they pose the question regarding his nude artwork: Is it “still too daring today?”
There has been controversy surrounding this work of art as it originally belonged to Jewish art collector by the name of Lea Bondi. It was evidently confiscated from her when she fled Vienna during World War II. Explore the history of this enamored work in the 2012 documentary, “POW: Portrait of Wally.”
This Viennese cultural epoch was an intellectual frontier punctuated by the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud, the urban planning of Otto Wagner, the founding of the Vienna Secession movement by Koloman Moser, the dramatic writings of Arthur Schnitzler, and the musical compositions of Gustav Mahler. During this time Egon Schiele, would become one of the most notable painters of Viennese Expressionism.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and there’s nothing more romantic than a last minute getaway. Whether you’re ready to book a trip, or just ready to day-dream, these unique and stunning hotels are sure to elicit emotion.
Habitas in Tulum, Mexico seems to be on every “Top Hotels” list these days, and it’s easy to see why. This ocean-side, eco-friendly, boho sanctuary consists of thirty canvas huts, simply decorated with Kilim rugs and wood furniture, with other natural touches of hemp rope, linen, and bamboo. Their use of renewable resources to create such a luxurious setting is a perfect yin-yang dichotomy, leading guests to feel as though they are one-with-nature, but with all the comfort and amenities of a five-star hotel.
It is meant to be a sociable stay, with rooftop yoga, shared fireside gatherings, live music, and the ever-bonding experience of delicious food, prepared by chef Federico Cappi. You could go with your Valentine and make new friends, or go with friends and meet your Valentine there!
Hotel de Luxe Nolinski in Paris earned the “luxe” in its name. Designer Jean-Louis Denoit created a warm, glamorous, and surreal experience for those who sojourn. Calling on an eclectic mix of finishes, materials, accessories, and furniture– from moody clouds painted on the walls and ceiling of the entire six-story stairway, to a white and gold cherry-blossom-esque tree that stands as a centerpiece in the brasserie– every room offers a quirky and delightful surprise.
Comfort and style go hand-in-hand, everything has intention and not a single detail is skirted. The cool grays used in most of the bedrooms are easy-on-the-eyes and suited for a calm, relaxed stay. The dim candlelight in the Grand Salon, its jewel-toned shades of peacock blue and emerald green, and its noble materials and custom furniture, orchestrate a gentle lyrical harmony that seduces guests into a mood of conviviality and comfort.
If you prefer a dreamy winter wonderland, Treehotel in the Finnish Lapland offers an unusual and magical selection of “rooms” that float amongst the trees, ten meters above the ground. Choose between the UFO, the Birds Nest, the Dragonfly, or our personal favorite, the 7th Room, which is specially designed with panoramic windows to allow guests to view the Northern Lights.
According to Forbes.com, “The Sun is almost about to enter the Solar Minimum phase which will mean the Northern Lights will be dimmer and occur less frequently over the next decade. This year is the last year you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights before the Sun enters its dormant phase.” The best way to see the lights is under a dark cloudless sky between September and April. Time to go to Finland!
The Ned Hotel in London is a classic love-at-first-sight story. When Nick Jones, the founder of Soho House & Co, first saw the abandoned Midland Bank building in 2012, “there was something about it— the details and scale of it— that just floored me,” Jones explains. He and Andrew Zobler, the CEO of New York’s Sydell Group, collaborated to bring the building back to life. Full of warm woods, rich colors, English fabrics, and traditional accents and décor, the vibe is 1920’s gentleman-glam.
The building’s original architect, Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens, had a flawless eye for detail, which can be seen throughout every space. The African verdite-covered columns throughout the main banking hall are actually composed of hundreds of carefully assembled jigsaw-like fragments, as the stone was hard to come by in such massive quantities. Another fun fact: the bank vault door, which is now used as the entrance to a cozy club space, was used as inspiration for the vault in the 1964 James Bond film, Goldfinger.
So whether you’re looking for a Valentine’s trip next week, or an international trip next year, these hotels offer original and delightful designs and experiences.