Cecil Beaton: Through a Glass, Lightly

The photographer, designer and aesthete Cecil Beaton brought a distinctly historical awareness to the realm of fashion.

Beaton dressed for the 'Ascot' scene in the musical My Fair Lady, whose costumes he designed, New York, 1956

What does Cecil Beaton look like? Well, I think he’s very distinguished looking with aristocratic features, an aquiline nose, lots of cartilage and good bone. Rather hideous mouth. Very nice hands. Tall; very good length of leg, which is something that’s most important, especially as one puts on a good deal of weight – Michelin tyres – round the middle. I don’t think good looking at all. I mean, it’s not the sort of looks that I would like to have at all; I’d like to have a much more wart face, a mushroom face, an embryo face. I don’t want to be distinguished. I hate that.’

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