The Style Files: Claiborne Swanson Frank

Claiborne Swanson Frank Portrait

Claiborne Swanson Frank is a modern day style icon. She is beautiful, effortless, intelligent, talented, and embodies the all-American style that she seeks to capture in her work as a photographer. I believe I first became aware of Claiborne after visiting her family’s winery, Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley several years ago. Soon after, I fell in love with her work in her first book, American Beauty. In a world that is filled with an insatiable desire for instant gratification and in which women rarely support one another in the way that we should, I found the way she uplifts other young women to be inspiring and her photography to be captivating and completely timeless. The way in which she captures her subjects has an almost ethereal quality to it, evoking an appreciation for classic Americana with a modern verve.

Before recently moving to Los Angeles, Claiborne spent several years in New York, during which she worked under Anna Wintour at Vogue and launched her photography career which has included capturing advertising campaigns for Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors, AERIN, and Veronica Beard. Claiborne’s personal and photographic style are distinctive and inspiring– the style is palpable, yet maintains an effortless ease. She is a storyteller– weaving a tapestry of iconic imagery that makes you wish you could dive into her photographs and live in the world she creates. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Claiborne, who is as kind as she is beautiful and talented, about her greatest sources of inspiration, what she hopes to achieve in her life, and her new book, Young Hollywood. Enjoy!



Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Claiborne Swanson Frank: Classic American Style

Claiborne Swanson Frank Vogue

{Claiborne Swanson Frank in her New York Apartment via Vogue}

PC: What does your home say about you?

CSF: I think the space in which we live expresses who we are in the world and what we love in the world. I believe the spaces in which we live should inspire.

Claiborne Swanson Frank ELLE DECOR

{Claiborne’s New York living room has been a reader favorite since it was featured in ELLE DECOR a few years ago.}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration:

CSF: Movies, art, fashion, history and photography

young hollywood

{Claiborne’s eagerly anticipated second book, Young Hollywood is available for pre-sale now and will be released on September 23rd.}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

CSF: Lauren Hutton, Charlotte Rampling, Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn, my sisters, and my mother.

charlotte rampling

{The Eternally Chic Charlotte Rampling}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

CSF: Laying out in the sun: getting a tan and reading books or magazines while drinking a mango smoothie.


{The Makings of Claiborne’s Guilty Pleasure via her Instagram}

PC: Finish this sentence: Before I die, I’d like to…

CSF: I’d like to have loved and lived as deeply and fully as I could.


{A Stunning Self-Portrait of Claiborne and her Darling Son via her Instagram}

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

CSF: Moving to NYC in my mid twenties and working for Anna Wintour at Vogue – it forever changed my life and gave my life and work purpose and direction. I found myself and my way when I moved to NYC.

claiborne swanson frank ferragamo-raincoat-desktop

{Since working for Vogue and subsequently launching her photography career, Claiborne has photographed several iconic advertising campaigns including this one for Salvatore Ferragamo featuring style icons such as Lauren Santo Domingo with whom Claiborne collaborated for Vogue‘s popular APT with LSD feature.}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

CSF: Inner joy, peace, and gratitude in each day.


{Gorgeous Claiborne and her Beautiful Son via Claiborne’s Instagram}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you:

CSF: My next book Young Hollywood, published by Assouline comes out next week! I am very excited about it!!

Claiborne Swanson Frank2 {A Stunning Portrait of Actress Cody Horn as Captured by Claiborne Swanson Frank in her new Tome, Young Hollywood}



Go-To Outfit: White Jeans and a White T-Shirt

Style Mantra: Classic and a little Tomboy

Scent: Sycomore by Chanel

Piece of Jewelry: My engagement ring–I never take it off.

Current Obsession: Instagram

Color I Never Tire Of:  Tomato Red

Flower: Dahlia

Indispensable Design Element: high ceilings and good light

Era for Design: I am really into mid century right now.

Dream Project: I just did it– “ Young Hollywood.”

Fabric/Textile:  Gazar, Linen

Hostess Gift: Swanson Wine / Modern House Wines

Meal: Steak and Heirloom Tomato

Drink: Swanson Pinto Grigio or Green Tea

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Glass of Wine or Walk with my Dog in the Canyon.

3 Things I Love About My City: The Beach, The Canyons, The Weather


Weekend Destination: Napa Valley

Hotel: Meadowood Resort and Spa in Napa Valley

City: Paris, NYC

Museum: MET, Guggenheim

Artist: Karsh, Avedon, Beaton

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Brown Sugar” by The Stones

Actor/Actress: Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant

Prized Possession: My 1980 Land Cruiser

Risk Worth Taking: Following your dreams, whatever they might be!

Greatest Extravagance: Nice Hotels

Go-To Color Palette: Earth Tones or Bright, Bold Colors

Rule to Break: Trespassing

Movie Set Design: Anything by Tony Duquette


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