“Beautiful sunny Sunday luncheon party for eighty-eight friends at Villa Dubeau on Cap d’Antibes. It is a heavenly villa – right on the sea – it is exactly what you imagine you should find on the Riviera, and then a little better. Guests started arriving by boat and car. How chic some of the women look in their Emilo Pucci silk shirts.”
So runs a caption note by Slim Aarons for a story he shot on the French Riviera in the summer of 1957, just one of many assignments the legendary photographer would shoot along the Cote d’Azur.
Saint Tropez, Monaco, Cap Ferrat or Portofino… the very names evoke a world of private villas, sleek yachts and an enviable climate. This is the summer playground of the wealthy – aristocrats, royalty and movie stars alike – the newly-christened ‘jet set’ who treated Slim as one of their own, and allowed him unprecedented access.
“Slim’s Riviera” transports the viewer to this world of luxury where watches are forgotten and days are spent lazing by the pool or on yachts moored in sheltered coves. The more energetic take their longboards into the surf at Biarritz or waterski around the bay at Cannes.
Evenings see the harbours of St. Tropez and Monaco come alive with fashionable people strolling to the portside restaurants or joining friends on a boat for informal drinks. Up in the hills, private parties are taking place in stunning villas, to a backdrop of cicadas and the unmistakeable perfume of jasmine.
Nothing is rushed – this is a world of privilege, luxury and elegance.