Talk of the upcoming book brought me back to my first discovery of Beaton’s ‘other’ work, when my ‘in-training’ eye was first assaulted with the wildly imaginative images that hovered perfectly between the worlds of fashion and art – specifically Surrealism – that were so intermingled during his earlier days of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.
One photo in particular stands out as my all-time Beaton fave: ‘The Soapsuds Group’ at The Living Posters Ball of 1930. Pictured at the left is the photographer’s sister and sometimes muse, Baba, along with her two friends, Wanda Baillie-Hamilton and Lady Bridget Poulett. As the title suggests, the three young debs are posing as soapsuds. Soapsuds in the most fantastical bathtub ever to be imagined, the three ephemeral beauties appear like archways which make way for the experimental future of The Factory, Exploding Plastic Inevitables et al, transforming rich girl portraiture into dreamy art. Magnifique, right?