Definitive Prep


The last topic I thought I’d be returning to so soon are the aesthetic charms of William F. Buckley. However the photographs in last week’s New York Times Magazine’s excerpt of Christopher Buckley’s memoir were amazing. Patricia and William F. Buckley charted the murky border where upper class pageantry flows into ridiculous Thurston Howellism and resolutely anchored their yacht just on the inside of it. Each of these photos is the very distillation of arch-Waspdom in the mode of each decade’s prevailing fashions. Pearls and tweeds give way to mod specs, beehives and Vespas, and top out in gilded, frilled, and draped tableaus of over-saturated frippery. If these photographs are representative, the art book they are begging to form is a classic. (the article itself is fantastic, a bracing account of losing ones’ parents as well as a pocket elegy to a lost age of cultural and political camaraderie. Images © New York Times/Christopher Buckley)