Editor's Pick: "American Beauty"

Claiborne Swanson Frank's pretty new book

american beauty!

The launch party for this book was no droll literary event. The Traina family’s gorgeous Pac Heights manse housed a Fourth of July-style party in April, complete with gourmetified barbecue bites (deviled quail eggs), a ceiling of patriotic balloons, and appropriately balmy weather.

The woman of the hour, author and photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank, was the title of her work incarnate, floating around the party in a canary yellow, flutter-hemmed sheath with splendor and grace.

Let’s just say, with the bevy of Vogue contributors and society beauties, I felt out of my element (save for a kind squeeze from hostess extraordinaire Alexis Swanson Traina, babes in tow).

I perused the hefty tome we all toasted to, where some of the ladies in attendance (Frank’s siblings, Google exec Marissa Mayer, interior designer Erin Martin, philanthropist Katie Traina, rising star model Michele Ouellet — pictured) enliven the pages. American Beauty offers a rare glimpse into some of the most photogenic specimens on the planet, who were shot in their elements looking exposed yet confident.

I don’t live in their world, but they can live in mine. On the coffee table, that is. — Schuyler, San Francisco editor

Available online at assouline.com, $75.

Photo: Claiborne Swanson / Courtesy of Assouline