Cecil Beaton: If You Don’t Know Who He Is, You Should!

Jan 29, 2014 | 2:03 AM

Cecil Beaton’s name popped up on my screen the other day while I doing a google search on movie musicals, and I thought: “Who, exactly, is/was Cecil Beaton? A playwright? A photographer?” He definitely sounded English, but I couldn’t really place what he’d done.


A quick investigation revealed him to be one of the greatest creative artists of the 20th century!


Fashion and society photographer, portraitist, interior decorator, book jacket designer, set designer— his talents never stop! But the real kicker for me, as both a nostalgiasist, creative director and performer, is that Beaton won two Best Costume Design Academy Awards for a two of my favorite movie musicals of all time, Gigi (1958) and My Fair Lady (1964).


What a performer wears plays a huge role in his or her performance. The right outfit can lift you up; the wrong outfit can ruin you.


Cecil Beaton’s collection is vast and I urge you all to explore this master on your own.


Below, is a brief retrospective of his movie musical work. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that his attention to detail is staggering.


Please let me know if you agree!





My Fair Lady, sketch 1
A sketch of one of Audrey Hepburn’s costumes in My Fair Lady
Beaton on set putting the final touches on his design


my-fair-lady-1964-the real thing
The Finished Product



sketch for Eliza's ballgown, My Fair Lady, Cecil Beaton
sketch for Eliza’s ball gown, My Fair Lady


Movie Still, Eliza entertain the ball flanked by dashing looking Rex Harrison and Wilfrid Hyde-White
 Eliza making her entrance, flanked by dashing looking Rex Harrison and Wilfrid Hyde-White



IN THIS OUTFIT, Who wouldn’t want to dance all night?


My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn, Cecil Beaton
I love how perfectly the hat matches the wallpaper and the chocolates!


gigi sketch
sketch of a gown for Leslie Caron in Gigi


Leslie Caron as Gig
The Final Product

One thought on “Cecil Beaton: If You Don’t Know Who He Is, You Should!”

  1. roger barnard     Reply

    Find out more about his life behind the camera in his 2 Wiltshire homes in the upcoming exhibition we are curating at Salisbury Museum, UK entitled ‘Cecil Beaton at Home’, from May – Sept 2104

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