The photographer Slim Aarons, who captured exuberant-yet-laid-back celebrations around the world, has always had a permanent spot on our mood board here at Antica Farmacista. His muses included Grace Kelly, Truman Capote, Humphrey Bogart, Princess Caroline of Monaco, and Nelda Linsk. Nelda may not be a household name like the rest of that list, but her image is known to many from one of Aaron’s most famous photographs, “Poolside Gossip” (1964) taken at Nelda’s Richard Neutra-designed home. The glamour and warmth Nelda embodies in this iconic shot is our inspiration for Antica Farmacista Holiday ‘22 and particularly for our “Poolside Pair” of Prosecco Black and White Spruce.
Nelda is a dear family friend of Antica’s co-owner and Creative Director Shelley Callaghan, and she sat down with us to talk about what it was like to capture this moment of desert leisure with Aarons, and what sensory details this home evokes for her.
Shelley Callaghan: Hi Nelda! Thanks for celebrating this campaign with us. You had a very close friendship with my mom and I just always remember loving being around you. You sort of epitomize Palm Springs to me… Sunny, warm, and glamorous!
So many elements in Palm Springs are near and dear to you, but clearly, the Kaufmann House is high on that list. What were your holidays like in this iconic home?
Nelda Linsk: Usually, we returned to our summer home in Bedford Village, NY. When we did stay in the desert, our guests were always Joe’s brother, close friends, and sometimes my family from Texas. We always decorated for Christmas — I always gift-wrapped the front glass doors, as seen on the cover of Palm Springs Life.
SC: Did you have a traditional tree (or a decorated palm)?
NL: We had a 10-ft tree, sometimes flocked but mostly natural, and all of our treasured ornaments collected over the years.
SC: What kind of music was playing?
NL: Always Christmas music during the holidays.
SC: What was being cooked?
NL: We had a Belgian cook and she always did the traditional turkey.
SC: I know you love a glass of white, but were you known for serving a signature cocktail?
NL: We had a well-stocked bar that could produce any cocktail. But we always served wine and champagne with dinner.
SC: Did you have a holiday scent in your home?
NL: No holiday scent except for the aroma of the tree.
Pictured: Nelda Linsk and Shelley Callaghan.
SC: It’s amazing to think how spontaneous that “Poolside Gossip” shot truly was for Slim and you. Is it true that he called and asked you to throw a small cocktail party?
NL: Yes, Slim called one day and said he was coming to the desert and wanted to do some pool shots. He said, “call some of your friends, pull something from your closet.” He arrived with a camera and tripod. No makeup or hair artist or dresser. Slim's famous quote about his work was, “photographing attractive people in attractive places doing attractive things.” We were neighbors back East — our summer place was in Bedford Village, NY and he lived down the road in Katonah.
SC: Do you recall the perfume you were wearing during the infamous “Poolside Gossip” shot?
NL: I was probably wearing Arpège by Lanvin. My nieces to this day always say they remember the Arpège scent on me when they were young.
SC: What perfume do you wear today?
NL: I wear Cartier perfume today.
SC: Do you have a signature scent for your current home?
NL: No, I do not have a signature scent for my home. Anything Antica is what I love! I am particularly fond of the Antica Reed Diffuser in Prosecco, Casablanca, and Orange Blossom.
SC: If you were to gift Antica this holiday season, what would be your go-to gift?
NL: My go-to gift would be the Antica Room Fragrance in Casablanca and the Body Moisturizer in Lemon Verbena & Cedar. I also love the Tuberose scent. I have Antica in every room of my home!
SC: You’ve been quoted as saying that “you believe much of the love for 'Poolside Gossip' comes from the way it makes people feel. People want to be in that photograph, they want to be here for that, they see themselves in that photograph.” I just want you to know that you have always made me feel special Nelda and yes… I, like so many others, would have given anything to be in that photo with you!