Issue 36

Luxury London Magazine SUMMER 24 - COVER

Summer 2024

Issue 36

Are you even a legendary hotel if, during the ’60s and ’70s, Slim Aarons, that towering New York photographer (in both senses of the word), wasn’t capturing beautiful people doing sweet nothing beside your sun-drenched, mid-century-modern swimming pool? More specifically still, are you even a legendary hotel if Orlebar Brown, that first and last name in contemporary resort-wear, hasn’t taken one of Aarons’ photos and printed it across the front of one of its deftly-tailored, mid-length Bulldog swim shorts? No; you may be a fine hotel, famous even, but it took being immortalised on Aaron’s Kodachrome to sanctify you as somewhere truly special.

Luminous institutions that have so far been eternalised, first on film, by Aarons and then, on fabric, by Brown, have included Monaco’s Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, and a coastal spot in Tuscany’s Porto Ercole, a stone’s throw from Hotel Il Pellicano, where, incidentally, Gucci chose to launch its SS24 Lido collection in May. Aarons was a guest of Il Pellicano under its former English owners, the Graham family, and was there when Italian businessman-turned-hotelier Roberto Sciò purchased the property in 1979. Aarons spent the next decade documenting life at a hotel frequented by Britt Ekland, Gianni Agnelli, Jackie Kennedy and Sophia Loren, among others, as its reputation morphed into legend. When Il Pellicano was renovated in 2006 by Roberto’s daughter, our cover star, Marie-Louise Sciò – who, as CEO and creative director of the Pellicano Group, we interview on page 42 – it was photographs taken by Aarons in the ’80s that informed her highly-refined-and-much-imitated mood board.

Likewise, Aarons was at the Marbella Club, that fabled aristo hotel credited for putting the Costa del Sol on the map, from the very beginning. Shooting for the likes of Town & Country and Holiday magazines, Aarons acted as unofficial ambassador, spreading word about the sweet life in southern Spain through his ennobling images. Aarons had planned to anthologise the photos he took of the Marbella Club, which, on account of its 70th anniversary, we visit on page 16, but passed away before the book made it onto paper.

In a way, it’s anomalous that Aarons never made it to Hôtel Byblos. The Tropezienne hotel is conspicuous in its absence from Aaron’s oeuvre – not, though, from this bright and breezy travel-themed summer issue (page 118) – especially given that the fictionalised fishing-village-hotel was cementing its status as a celebrity mecca at the exact same time Aarons was reaching the zenith of his powers. Perhaps the charismatic cameraman was too busy capturing the rich and famous laying supine on nearby Pampelonne Beach (where, today, the hotel runs the area’s best beach bar). Either way, the shots Aarons took of St Tropez became some of the most emblematic of that golden era of the French Riviera. In the Aarons-legendary-hotel axiom, Byblos is, perhaps, the exception that proves the rule.

You can read all about these rhapsodised properties in the following pages. Plus plenty more paradisal hotels to which Aarons would undoubtedly have been drawn if he were still committed to his own legendary, and oft-cited, pursuit of “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”.

Wishing you a legendary summer.

Richard Brown

Editorial Director

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