A con­ver­sa­tion by the pool

Emirates Woman - - Contents -

No doubt you’ve seen the photo. Two at­trac­tive women sit in lounge chairs be­side a teal-blue pool, look­ing fab­u­lous and mon­eyed. A third, all legs and care­free at­ti­tude, strides to­ward them with a drink in her­hand.In­the­back­groundis­amod­ern­glas­sand-stone house and pur­plish moun­tains. The land­scape is idyl­lic. The sun­light is hazy and golden. You would live in­side the photo if you could.

Pool­side Gos­sip, taken by the so­ci­ety pho­tog­ra­pher Slim Aarons at the Kauf­man House in Palm Springs, Cal­i­for­nia, has be­come as much a sym­bol of mod­ernism as the Richard Neu­tra home that was its set­ting. Open a few shel­ter mag­a­zines and you’re likely to come across the photo hang­ing in some­one’s home - a piece of hip retro dé­cor like the Barcelona chair or the lac­quer Par­sons desk.

There were three women in the im­age: Nelda Linsk, who owned the home, and He­len Kap­tur, who was mar­ried for many years to the mid­cen­tury ar­chi­tect Hugh Kap­tur and has since passed away from ovar­ian can­cer.

The third woman, walk­ing along­side the pool, was Lita Baron, an ac­tress. Decades later, Nelda Linsk about spoke par­tic­i­pat­ing in the orig­i­nal shoot. What do you re­mem­ber about the pho­to­shoot? It was 1970. It was in Fe­bru­ary, I think. It was about 11 in the morn­ing. Slim called us. He knew our house was a Neu­tra. He said: “I want to come over and do a pool shot. Call some friends over.”

It was so ca­sual.He came with his tri­pod. The shoot was about an hour and a half. We so­cial­ized for an hour or two af­ter­ward. It was a fun day. I had no idea it would be­come that fa­mous. I wish I had roy­al­ties. Why do you think so many peo­ple love Pool side Gos­sip? It’s our life­style. We have such in­doorout­door liv­ing. We have meals out on the ter­race. The photo shows the moun­tains, the sun, the pool. It just is our life­style. Of course, it’s the ar­chi­tec­ture of the house in the back­ground, too.

There were no makeup or wardrobe peo­ple. Slim said, “Pull some­thing out of your closet.” Our house was done in yel­low: the um­brel­las were yel­low, the flow­ers yel­low. So I thought I’d wear some­thing yel­low. My out­fit was in yel­low terry cloth. I had on palazzo pants.

He­len showed up in that fab­u­lous white lace. She looked so glam­orous! Both of our out­fits were bare midriff. We both had big hair. In those days, you had big hair. What do you see when you look at the photo? I have such great me­mories of that house. It had those alu­minum shut­ters. If it was windy or sunny, you could close them. The fire­place was Ari­zona stone. The chim­ney came all the way up, so there was a fire­place on the sec­ond level, too. I fell in love with the de­sign of the house and the log­gia. On a clear day, you could al­most see the Sal­ton Sea. We had break­fast up there. There was a dumb­waiter on the log­gia. If we for­got a lemon for the mar­ti­nis, we could call down and they would put it on the dumb­waiter. How did you come to own the Kauf­man House? My hus­band, Joseph Linsk, had been com­ing out here for years and play­ing golf. Af­ter we were mar­ried, he said he wanted to move out here. I said, “Great.” The first time we stayed at the rac­quet club. The sec­ond time we stayed at Claudette Colbert’s house. Then a real es­tate agent told us about the Neu­tra house. We got to the gate, and I looked at all the Ari­zona stone, and I said: “This is our house, Joe. This is our house.” Do you own a copy of Pool side Gos­sip? I have one signed by Slim. It’s hang­ing in my house. Slim called me one day from a book­sign­ing party in New York and said, “Why is this photo so fa­mous?” I said, “Slim, it’s be­cause I’m in it.”


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