Whisked Away on a Slim Aarons Daydream By The Parker Hotel, Palm Springs
Prior to taking a little road trip this week (2.5 hours if you’re smart with traffic times otherwise try 4.5 hours from LA), when I would think of Palm Springs the images that would come to mind were sun, cacti, desert and Slim Aarons.
If you aren’t familiar with Slim Aarons there’s a big chance you’re familiar with his work. In simple terms, Slim (sure, let’s call him on a first name basis), was a photographer who was a chronicler of the good life as lived by the upper class and aristocracy in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. He photographed the rich and famous as an outsider looking in while they did their thing in their most lavish habitats. He never used a stylist, or a makeup artist and he made his career out of what he called “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” Not a bad gig, right?
In an interview with The (London) Independent in 2002 he said, “I knew everyone. They would invite me to their parties because they knew I wouldn’t hurt them. I was one of them.” This is what we would call “living the dream” my dear friend.
One of Slim’s most iconic images is the image you see here below, taken Poolside in 1970 of a villa built in the desert of Palm Springs. I’ve always daydreamed into this photograph – seriously, can you believe the people here were just going about their business looking like that? Let’s just say, I don’t think track-suit pants or haviana thongs would have quiet worked in this ‘chilling at home’ setting.
Slim’s photographs have this ability to whisk you away to an exclusive club where style, luxury and grandeur prevail. And when I arrived ay Le Meridien Parker Hotel in Palm Springs, I felt like I had stepped straight into a piece of Slim Aarons’ history. An incredibly cool, kitsch and retro desert oasis that’s easily the hippest hotel in Palm Springs. To say I was excited by the hotel’s décor would be an understatement. You know, just think of all those Instagram pictures you can get. (Shut up you too were thinking it, I just said it).
Every inch of the hotel’s grounds drips of personality (no I’m not talking about your sweat) – from the lemonade stands, croquet lawn, retro furniture and room décor. I was completely obsessed with the outdoor yellow and white theme that felt like stepping into a children’s picture book against the perfect blue sky back -drop. As for the furniture, its where ‘70s swagger meets ‘40s Hollywood Glam. The designer responsible for the design is Jonathan Adler. Don’t worry if you don’t instantly know who that is, I didn’t either. Yeah I’m sure I should and that I’ve heard of him. But just being honest, not going to pretend to be all arty farty on you. But he seriously is one creative and talented guy.
So back to Slim Aarons. His beautiful pictures of grandeur instantly sat on my mind when I laid eyes on this incredible hotel. So here’s a little photo journal of part of my stay and the images that I was inspired to capture. Hopefully they too will whisk you away to an incredibly cool, but man-o-man ridiculously hot place (It reached 45 degrees!).
The Parker Hotel Palm Springs