Claiborne Swanson Frank

Claiborne Swanson Frank

Photographer. Los Angeles

By: Emily Ramshaw
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

You know that easy, breezy Americana cool personified by the likes of Lauren Hutton, retro Ralph Lauren ads and every other Tonne Goodman editorial? The one that always includes the perfect pair of cropped jeans (artfully ripped or sun-bleached, of course), some raffia and/or leather accent and either a stripe or a check (but not both)? The one for which Jackie Kennedy will always be patron saint and New England or Northern California will be its spiritual home? The one where, if worn properly, you might just morph into a tawny skinned, golden retriever-owning, shell-collecting, tousle-haired American princess? You know exactly what we're talking about—we mean, that whole red-white-and-blue-tinged thing will always be one of those idolatry-inducing styles. And guys, if there’s one person who’s pretty much nailing it as far as American dream girl-dom goes, it’s Claiborne Swanson Frank.

Because really, she pretty much checks all the boxes. Former Vogue staffer and Anna Wintour assistant—who, rumor has it, showed up for her first day of work in jeans (only a true Lauren Hutton acolyte could pull that off)—makes good by becoming a photographer, and, in quick succession publishes two books: one literally titled American Beauty (you’ve read it, right?) and the other about Hollywood and it’s young and gorgeous actresses. And let's be honest, it doesn’t get much more American than that.

So, when we showed up at her Los Angeles home (complete with waving stars and stripes over the front door), her whole wardrobe situation was everything our inner all-natural-with-a-hint of-glamour, blue jean-collecting selves would ever want. Think piles of knit Michael Kors sweaters, Levi’s, Saint-James Breton stripes and plenty of vintage Yves Saint Laurent along with a fair share of sleek Céline accessories. And guys, she even had the golden retriever and indulged our Bruce Weber side by gamely posed with her pet next to her pool. Dream life = wavy-haired, gorgeous artist living in the Hollywood Hills? Check, check and check.