It Seems Like Yesterday: Remembering a Shoot with Bunny Mellon

 

Rachel Lowe Lambert Lloyd Mellon, the second Mrs. Paul Mellon, was known to her friends as “Bunny,” which seemed such an unlikely nickname for someone so restrained and elegant and camera-shy.

But there she was at her home in Antigua, as elegant and restrained as ever, ready to pose for a photograph. I felt quite lucky as Mrs. Mellon rarely—if ever—gave interviews, much less agreed to pose for a photographer. She greeted me cordially and was amenable to my suggestions as to where to pose. I wasn’t there very long, just long enough to take several different photographs, and then I was gone.From what I have read, her great loves were horticulture, art, and philanthropy, but I think I would add fashion to the list. For I photographed Mrs. Mellon on one other occasion later the same year—as Givenchy presented his collection at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. She was much more animated and relaxed around the legendary Givenchy, who matched her in elegance if not restraint. 

  The portrait shown here, taken in 1976, is my favorite of the day, and quite coincidentally was chosen as the cover of a new book about her life.