Monday, January 14, 2013
Photographer and designer Cecil Beaton was born on January 14, 1904, in Hampstead, England, into a prosperous merchant family. He learned to take pictures with his nanny’s Kodak 3A folding pocket camera, and in 1927 began shooting for British Vogue. He gained fame photographing a young, aristocratic group satirized by Evelyn Waugh in his novel Vile Bodies (1930). Known for fashion photos and society and celebrity portraits, Beaton often photographed the Royal Family for official publication. After World War II, Beaton designed sets, costumes and lighting for Broadway, most notably costumes for the stage production of Lerner and Loewe's “My Fair Lady” (1956), which led to the film musicals, “Gigi” (1958) and “My Fair Lady” (1964), both of which earned Oscars for Beaton. Pictured: Beaton’s much-celebrated Ascot Races dress for Audrey Hepburn, and the largest picture hat ever.