Our next Holiday Tastemaker is the talented portrait photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank. Claiborne was raised in San Francisco, California and moved to New York in 2007 where she worked at Vogue under Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour. Shortly thereafter, she began to pursue a career in photography and began her first body of work – a collection of portraits of women in her life, which served as inspiration for her debut book, Assouline’s American Beauty, published in 2012. Claiborne’s cover image for American Beauty, of model Lily Aldridge, was on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco in 2012. Soon after the release of American Beauty, Claiborne moved to Los Angeles and began working on Young Hollywood (Assouline), her second book of portraits, release in 2014. 

In tandem with the creation of her books, Claiborne has collaborated with many American and European fashion brands such as Estée Lauder, Ferragamo, Michael Kors, Aerin, Veronica Beard and Clé de Peau Beauté. She has also contributed to various editorial publications such as Vanity Fair, Town & Country, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Porter and Architectural Digest. Claiborne published her most recent book, Mother and Child (Assouline) in 2018. In Spring, 2021, Claiborne released her first fine art series of modern botanicals. Flowers is a series of ethereal floral portraits, bathed in natural light and captured the quiet of quarantine. She resides in Greenwich, Connecticut, with her husband, James, their sons Hunter and Wilder, and their dog, King. 

For her Tastemaker Collection, Claiborne was paired with Dogwood Hill artist Aly Harris of Willa Heart who created all of the fun New England themed artwork.

“Claiborne had a very specific vision for the art and was so much fun to work with. We talked lots about a traditional New England holiday feeling while keeping it in my non-traditional style. For the mood boards I pulled from 90’s Ralph Lauren holiday photo campaigns. I grew up in Boston, so New England is right up my alley. I knew the exact feeling she wanted to capture on the cards. I wanted it to feel like a warm hot chocolate after a long day of skiing. For the New England Slopes Collection, I took inspiration from Slim Aaron’s photos in the Alps,” Aly said.

Continue scrolling to see the beautiful cards that our design team created with Willa Heart artwork and to read our Holiday Q&A with Claiborne below!

To see Claiborne’s full Tastemaker Collection, click here.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I love Holiday traditions. Too many I love to choose one: I love the night we decorate the tree; I love the day we bake cookies, the lighting of the Christmas lights. I love Christmas parties. I guess if I had to choose my favorite tradition it would be having Christmas Eve at my sister’s house each year. She had the most magical, fun Christmas eve dinner. I love seeing my children and all the cousins running around the house, Christmas music blaring, fires roasting. I love it all! 

If you had to pick one holiday movie to use as inspiration to decorate your own house, what would it be?

Home Alone – the outside. 

What is a holiday tradition that you wish you could do all year long?

I don’t, because if we could do it all year it wouldn’t be special. 

What is your most memorable holiday and why?

I think they are all memorable, but I think our first Christmas in our house in Greenwich, CT was the most special. It snowed days before and it was magical. 

Which Dogwood Hill cards will you be sending out to family and friends this holiday?

That is tough. I haven’t been able to decide yet! 

What is your go-to holiday hostess gift?

One of my Flower Prints or one of my books. 

What kind of holiday shopper are you – Black Friday, Christmas Eve, or year long stasher?

I start shopping the day after Thanksgiving up until Christmas Eve. 

What keeps you inspired during the busy holiday season?

My kids keep me inspired as I get to see the Holidays through their eyes. Nothing is more special than experiencing the Holidays through the eyes of a child. 

What brings you a sense of calm during the busy holiday season?

Long walks and taking time to care for myself. 

Are you team real tree or faux tree?

Real tree. 

Are you team white lights or colored lights?


What is your favorite holiday dessert? 

I love pecan pie. There is this insane bakery in town that makes the best. 

Is there one holiday entertaining hack or secret you can share?

Lots of candles, music and wine….I think that’s a universal hack, but it works. 

Who is on your dream holiday party guest? If applicable, please share their Instagram handles.

My sisters: @veronicaswansonbeard @alexistraina

What are you most thankful for this year? And what are you most looking forward to in the New Year?

I am most grateful for my family, friends and our health. I look forward to the hope of return to more normal life and travel. 

Styled Card Photography by Mary Margaret Smith Photography.

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