I Got You Babe

You must pick up a copy of the December issue of Town & Country.  One of the highlights is a wonderful first person account by Carol Prisant of the six weeks in the summer of 1957 that she spent working for Babe and William Paley.   Barbara "Babe" Cushing Mortimer Paley continues to be a style icon more than 30 years after her death from lung cancer in 1978.  She was one of the famous Cushing sisters who all married well and sometimes more than once.  She was married to her first husband Stanley Grafton Mortimer, Jr. from 1940-1946.  Her daughter Amanda Burden was from this marriage.  It was her marriage to William S. Paley the founder of CBS in 1947 that seemed to really put her on the map.  Someone once said that they "don't make 'em like Babe Paley anymore" and I have to agree.  She was always impeccably dressed and well mannered.  In an age where reality stars like Snooki are the new style icons, I long for this ladylike look.  Bill Blass once observed, “I never saw her not grab anyone’s attention, the hair, the makeup, the crispness. You were never conscious of what she was wearing; you noticed Babe and nothing else.”  Those were the days.


Babe and William Paley leaving the famous restaurant La Côte Basque.  The New York Times called it "former high-society temple of French cuisine at 60 West 55th Street."  This is my absolute favorite photo of Babe Paley since it is one of the only shots of her smiling and looking genuinely happy. 

Babe Paley was photographed by Lord Snowdon in her apartment at the St. Regis in 1958.  Her necklace and bracelets are by Verdura. 

The Paley apartment in the St. Regis was designed by Billy Baldwin.

In the Town & Country article, Carol Prisant remembers seeing the room upon her first meeting with Babe Paley. "And just over her shoulder was the world's most extraordinary room: walls curtained in red-brown print (and, in memory, a tented ceiling), French furniture artfully scattered on a needlepoint carpet stitched with blackamoor heads, and, above the whole, a Venetian chandelier centered by a clock.  I didn't know what to look at first."

Jeremiah Goodman's watercolor painting of Babe Paley's bedroom.

Fashion illustration of Babe Paley by Kenneth Paul Block.

Babe Paley leaning out of the St. Regis in 1958 by Lord Snowdon.

Babe Paley at dinner in 1960.

Babe and William Paley, date unknown.

Gloria Guinness, William and Babe Paley at Truman Capote's Black & White Ball in 1966.

Babe Paley in 1946.

Babe and William Paley with the Duchess of Windsor.

Babe Paley being photographed for Vogue in 1946.

Babe Paley looking like she's on a cruise.

One of the most famous photos of Babe Paley take in Jamaica in 1959 by Slim Aarons.

Babe Paley with William Paley and Truman Capote in Jamaica.

Babe Paley in 1964.

Babe Paley in Capri.

Babe Paley (1915 - 1978)

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