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Fashion Statement: Slim Keith

“I was a fabulous arm-piece, the ultimate decoration.” Slim Keith, American socialite and style icon, who died on this day in 1990. Lady Mary Raye Nancy Gross Hawks Hayward “Slim” Keith was the original California girl, an originator of American chic, the first non-designer to receive the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award (for her “impact on fashion”) and was named the Best Dressed Woman in the World in 1946. Men chased her and she inspired artists and writers. It was Keith who “discovered” Lauren Bacall for the role of Slim in her first husband Howard Hawks’ film, To Have and Have Not, and penned the line, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

Todd McCarthy, author of a biography on Hawks, wrote of Keith: “There was never any question that Slim Hawks sported one of the most original wardrobes in the United States. Shunning the pretentiousness of haute couture, she selected clothes that bespoke health, physical activity, the outdoors, comfort, a vaguely masculine refinement and smart good sense.” To read more fabulous Fashion Statements, click here.

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