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Ahead of 420, MONOGRAM, JAY-Z’s cannabis company, has reimagined iconic photos by renowned mid-century American photographer Slim Aarons. Legendary director Hype Williams was tasked with recreating Aarons’ famed images for a contemporary, cannabis-friendly audience. And where would be a more fitting location than the Frank Sinatra House in Palm Springs?
“Slim Aarons defined a lifestyle and an era, and this campaign is proof that his imagery, style, and taste still resonate,” said Getty Images curator Shawn Waldron, adding, “Hype Williams creatively pays homage to Slim’s incredible talent while updating the setting and personalities in a truly inspired way.”
Williams recast some of Aarons’ most notable poolside vignettes, tapping Best New Artist Grammy nominee Chika, New York-based trio of culinary experts & activists Ghetto Gastro, rapper & songwriter Curren$y, designer & stylist Aleali May, and fashion & beauty model Slick Woods as the faces of a new luxury aesthetic.
Each shot was styled by Highsnobiety’s own Corey T. Stokes, who wove modern accents and streetwear elements into Aarons’ timeless original work. The recreations of “Keep Your Cool,” “Desert House Party,” “Poolside Glamour,” “Leisure and Fashion” each illustrate the expanding landscape of modern luxury and its relationship to cannabis culture.
“The perception around cannabis has shifted a lot since the 20th century. If you were to ask me and my peers how we’d define the good life today, weed would definitely be a part of it. Whether we’re smoking to inspire creativity or to celebrate an achievement, cannabis has a rightful place in modern-day culture,” explained Williams. “HOV has a vision for the industry that he’s bringing to life through MONOGRAM. His focus for this campaign was to showcase how beautifully cannabis fits into the good life today, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
The campaign comes soon after both houses of the New York State Legislature approved legislation to legalize marijuana. “Being creative like this becomes a natural part of the fabric of New York City only reinforces that cannabis has a right to exist within our customs, arts and social institutions,” shared Carter. “New York’s decision to legalize is a victory for the entire industry, and I’m excited to have MONOGRAM play a role in bringing that message to life in my own backyard.”
New installments of the campaign will also be introduced later this year, coinciding with the debut of Slim Aarons: Style – a new monograph that takes a deep dive into the fashion and style represented throughout Slim Aarons’ work. Hitting shelves on September 21, 2021, Slim Aarons: Style features nearly 50 previously unpublished photographs pulled straight from the Slim Aarons archive in London, offering a brand-new look into his legacy.