Apparel Provided By: Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Desert Saloni Accessories Provided By: H&M Shoes Provided By: Calvin Klein
Apparel Provided By: Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Desert Saloni Accessories Provided By: H&M Shoes Provided By: Calvin Klein

Call Her the Queen of Greater Palm Springs, Kelly Golightly’s Midcentury Star is Shining Bright

Vibrant, Colorful and Full of Life, We Can’t Get Enough of Our Cover Star

Written By: Dr. Paula Trimble-Familetti
Photographed By: Travis McCoy
Styled By: Kaylee Jackson
Makeup By: Brian Bond
Hair By: Malena Villavicencio Kelly Golightly

Some people might say the holiday season or summer vacation is their favorite time of year, but for Kelly Golightly, true happiness is Modernism Week in her adopted home of beautiful Palm Springs, California. “I love Modernism Week! It is the most magical week of the year! It is a true celebration of midcentury design, architecture and fashion and it is always such a special time to be in Palm Springs.”

One look at her glamorous, midcentury-inspired home, and you know she is serious about her passion for the bygone era. Examples of her zeal for the time period are sprinkled throughout her home—the vintage record player in the living room and the book of Slim Aarons’ photographs lying open to the iconic photo titled “Poolside Gossip.” Golightly and her photographer husband, Fred Moser, even captured the reunion of Helen Dzo Dzo Kaptur and Nelda Linsk, the fabulous women from the iconic Slim Aarons photograph, 45 years later for a special talk with Nelda during Modernism Week.

Golightly, a self-described “Air Force brat,” fell in love with Palm Springs on a cross-country road trip. Her husband—known to her fans as Fred Baby—surprised her with a night at the Viceroy Palm Springs which was designed by one of her favorite designers, internationally-recognized, American designer Kelly Wearstler. “I fell in love with everything about Palm Springs, and one night turned into three nights, turned into three weeks, turned into three months. Every time we got in the car to leave, I said, ‘Turn around, I can’t do it!’ Palm Springs was pulling me to her.”

Drawn to creative pursuits, Golightly attended the School of Communications at The University of Texas at Austin. Writing was her first love, and she originally planned to write professionally for television or a magazine. As it turned out, she started her blog when she finished college so she could write about what was of interest to her without limitations. Now with over 100,000 followers across social media, she’s an icon within her city and a modern muse for women looking to add a touch of glamour to their home or wardrobe.

Inspiring others to create their dream life, Golightly focuses on the intersection between color, charm and glamor as her catalyst. Her goal is to share all the beauty and personality of Palm Springs. “Front doors are colorful, backyard pools are charming and cocktails around the pool are glamorous. Palm Springs is such a happy place,” she explained. “I hope by sharing all the beauty and color of Palm Springs I can inspire others to create their dream lives. It seems like a fantasy, but it is not [about] how you were brought up or where you lived. You can create the life you want. My first bedroom was a closet, so it doesn’t matter where you came from.”

Golightly got her start as part of Modernism Week when she was selected in 2013 to be a member of the Mod Squad (not the hippie detective television show that ran from 1968 through 1973). This Mod Squad is an elite group of influencers and press chosen to share highlights from Modernism Week on social media.“I loved sharing the midcentury architecture and colorful doors with my followers around the globe! A virtual trip to Palm Springs for those who couldn’t be there in person.” As part of The Mod Squad, she continued sharing the highlights of Modernism Week for two more years in 2014 and 2015.

In 2016, she was one of the designers chosen to create a room in the Christopher Kennedy Compound: The Palm Springs Modernism Week Show House. With her background in fashion, she transformed the master dressing room in the Show House. The dressing room was dubbed “The Glam Cave,” and channeled the glamour of the Beverly Hills Hotel in the ‘50s and ‘60s, embracing the art of dressing. The show house was featured in many publications, including Traditional Home magazine. During 2016 she also curated a photo exhibit that was displayed at Community and Meeting Place, the hub of Modernism Week.

With the success of her 2016 Show House room, Golightly’s house was chosen as the home of the Christopher Kennedy Compound: The Palm Springs Modernism Week Show House in 2017. This time the designers turned her 20-room, Spanish Colonial home into a midcentury-modern marvel. She did design one room in the house which she named the “Glamily Room” a glamorous take on a family room. The house has been appropriately named Villa Golightly.

Unfortunately, in 2018, her participation at Modernism Week was limited due to an autoimmune illness. As happy and vivacious as Golightly is, she must contend with health issues and food sensitivities stemming from two autoimmune diseases: Hashimoto’s and Celiac. “We have had to completely overhaul our lifestyle. We used to love to eat out and travel, but now we have to make all our food at home,” she explained. “That stopped us from traveling for a few years as we figured out how to navigate this new life.”

Of course, Golightly made lemonade from lemons. She and Fred Baby bought a Mercedes Sprinter Van which she designed in Golightly blue, which she describes as “almost Tiffany blue, but not exactly” and white. Now she has a complete kitchen on wheels to take on the road trips that she loves so much. “I feel like I’ve gotten my freedom back,” she said. “I am excited to be exploring again—our favorite pastime—and I hope it helps inspire others with similar struggles and health issues to think outside the box and give them hope.”

When she first started blogging, Golightly never anticipated that health would be something she would be writing about. By opening up about what she is going through, both in her physical and mental health, she has received countless notes from readers who are experiencing similar struggles. “I wish none of us had to go through it, but the upside has been that a community has formed, allowing us to lean on each other and share information,” she said. “Everyday I respond to at least one email or direct message to share what has worked for me in the hope of helping someone to live a much happier and healthier life.”

Holly Golightly, a character in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the actress Audrey Hepburn, provide great inspiration for her. Discussing the film character, Golightly said, “She is just so charming, childlike and delightful. She found love and built a life for herself in a glamorous place.”

Reflecting on Ms. Hepburn’s philanthropic work after her film career, Golightly disclosed her feelings on philanthropy. “Philanthropy is a two-sided thing. On one side it is good to share, and if other people know we are sharing, they might be encouraged to do the same thing. On the other side, we have a great concern for homeless children. People in my family have been through it, and that is something we don’t talk about.” In this spirit of philanthropy, $100,000 from tours and events at the Christopher Kennedy Compound Show House went toward architectural perseveration and education, including scholarships to local students.

A life full of philanthropy, fashion, design, color and charm, has allowed Golightly to realize the beauty and glamour of the Palm Springs lifestyle. But ultimately, for Golightly, working with her husband and connecting with readers to inspire them to live their dream lives is the most rewarding. Stay tuned to see what 2019 has in store, as Golightly and her husband plan to be even more involved in Modernism Week in the coming years as they strive to give back to the community that has given them so much.

Career Highlights: Golightly was a guest style expert on The Martha Stewart Show and got to meet some of her design heroes—Jonathan Adler, Trina Turk and Kelly Wearstler.

Favorite Restaurants: “I love Melvyn’s, for the history and the fact that it was the old stomping grounds of the Rat Pack,” notes Golightly. Also on her list is the charming garden setting of Birba’s and the groovy, colorful design of Jonathan Adler’s Norma’s at the Parker.

Favorite Workouts: Golightly loves the simple things when it comes to workouts. Swimming in her pool or walks with her husband, Fred Baby, and their fur baby, Odee Golightly. Getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air, which Palm Springs is so well suited for. For her mental health, she practices Kundalini Yoga.  

You Light Up My Life: Her fur baby, Odee Golightly, is the light of her life. “She is a darling, living teddy bear who brings such joy and light to my life.”

Upcoming Projects: The future looks bright for Golightly! An upcoming book, a TV project and product collaborations are in the works! She can’t share all the details yet. We will just have to stay tuned!

Shop Till You Drop: “There are so many incredible vintage shops and thrift stores in Palm Springs,” says Golightly. Spaces, Revivals, Angel View and The Fine Art of Design are great for vintage; for new items try Trina Turk Residential and Christopher Kennedy.

Global Golightly: Golightly is drawn to destinations that are inspiring both for their breathtaking beauty and fabulous design: Capri, Cannes, Rome, Paris and Provence have her heart.

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