Monday, August 08, 2016

Slim's Pickings


OK, so the title of my blog post is corny, but there is nothing the least bit feeble about the Manhattan apartment of the late socialite, Slim Keith.  A California girl who went on to become one of New York's most soignée socialites, Keith led a remarkable life.  She was a wife to a few highly-successful men (including film director Howard Hawks and theater producer Leland Hayward), a mother to prominent interior designer Kitty Hawks, and a friend to Truman Capote, who later based an unflattering character on her in his controversial book, Answered Prayers.  Needless to say, the friendship ended.

With a life as rich as hers, it comes as no surprise that her Manhattan apartment, seen here in 1987, was equally as rich.  Not rich as in expensive (although her furnishings were exquisite,) but rather, rich in character and personality.  More Continental and English in feel than American, the interiors were a lesson in quiet sophistication.  No jarring colors, no outré art, and nothing that visually lunged at you.  Rather, her home was tasteful and pretty, just like Slim Keith.

If you're interested in learning more about Keith, you should read Slim: Memories of a Rich and Imperfect Life.  I read my mother's copy of the book back in the summer of 1990, and as I recall, it was a good read.  It might be worth reading again.








All interior photos from House & Garden, January 1987, François Halard photographer. Photo of Slim Keith by John Engstead.

13 comments:

  1. Wow. Nothing about these photos screams "1987." They could have been from 1937 or from 2007 or today. That's good taste.

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  2. As soon as I saw that photo, Jennifer, I had to read on. I spent many hours in this apartment with Slim going through her incredible photo albums to choose photos for the book as I art directed the book jacket. She was a hoot with fantastic stories but it was a bit tough going sometimes as she was an inveterate chain smoker and I would emerge hair and clothes reeking of cigarettes - but worth it!

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    1. Stacey, How thrilling! Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when you and Slim Keith were going through her photo albums!

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  3. Classic never goes out of style.

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    1. That's right. It holds up so well over time. The same can't be said about some of today's "trends".

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  4. What a treat to see these rooms once again!
    That they fall into the category of Timeless Good Taste cannot be disputed---yet there's nothing boring or predictable about them (those eccentric club chairs which Ronnie Grimaldi supplied for the drawing room being just one example of Slim's discerning eye). There is a kind of relaxed mood of excellence, which is very appealing...

    PS Loved the title of this post, by the way...

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    1. Toby, Very true. There is nothing boring about Slim Keith's apartment, and yet, it's troubling to think that many of today's so-called high-end designers and clients would in fact find it boring. Their loss, but still, it irks me.

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  5. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Jennifer, thank you so much for posting these. Slim's rooms are truly timeless, elegant and filled with personality. I think today's designers try much too hard to be "different" or (what they think is creative), and in so doing, their designed rooms look "forced." As a result, to me, they appear very uncomfortable and a bit pretentious.......not so with Slim's rooms. Thank you, LK

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    1. LK, Well said. "Forced" is a very accurate description of many interiors being done today.

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  6. Oh! I adore your posts that show exquisite and timeless taste. Every single thing in this apartment is perfection; distilled down from everything she collected in her life!
    So true these comments about decorating today!
    What taste.

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  7. Wow. Among our midsts is someone who knew Slim. I too wish I were a fly on the wall.
    She was a star behind the camera. Great post. She was a class act through and through.

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    1. Might you be thinking of Slim Arons?

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