By Ruth Brandon
From acclaimed novelist and cultural historian Ruth Brandon comes a charming twin biography of the mythical founders of the cosmetics undefined, Helena Rubinstein and Eugène Schueller, author of L’Oréal. Brandon’s gripping and infrequently nerve-racking tale of gender, energy, and politics stretches again from the darkest days of worldwide warfare II, to the emergence of the trendy model and make-up industries, with magazines reminiscent of Vogue and Cosmopolitan and game-changing product traces reminiscent of Avon and Mary Kay. Ugly attractiveness resonates in addition with its implications for contemporary tradition, as we input an period whilst high fashion and cosmetology exert an ever extra strong impression upon society at huge.
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Additional info for Ugly Beauty: Helena Rubinstein, L'Oréal, and the Blemished History of Looking Good
These folks who're no longer legally blind will instantly detect that the girl at the conceal appears not anything just like the genuine Kate Winslet. Is the lady an imposter? An evil dual? or simply the results of thousands of guy hours of electronic retouching? I’m going with ‘alien,’ ” generally introduced one web publication. 37 A video has lately been doing the rounds of YouTube. Marked “Every Teenage woman should still See This,” it indicates a metamorphosis scene: a quite often pleasant-looking younger girl Photoshopped prior to your eyes, her neck lengthened, her face thinned, her eyebrows raised, her complexion clarified: duckling to swan. Photographically, she turns into the wonder no “procedures”—and definitely no makeup—will ever make her in actual lifestyles. How the girl in query feels, confronted with so transparent and unimaginable a picture of what she may well seem like if she merely regarded various, we're not instructed. Unsurprisingly, the now ordinary electronic enhancement of favor and glamour pictures has given upward push to a great deal of agonizing. The British Liberal Democrat social gathering is so perturbed through its pernicious influence on younger ladies’ vanity that it has proposed a brand new legislation. simply as cigarette brands needs to print a caution on each packet saying that tobacco is deadly, in order that they wish each photographic picture to be followed by way of a message announcing even if it's been doctored. 38 Our great-great-grandmothers encased their our bodies in whalebone in pursuit of the eighteen-inch waist; our moms coated their faces with paste and powder so they may perhaps seem like their favourite movie stars. And today’s girls flip to the knife and the needle, liposucking off a few inches the following, tightening a jawline there, plumping out this fallen cheek, lifting that recalcitrant breast, in a unending, unavoidably futile try and achieve the last word unreality: Photoshop. IV When Helena Rubinstein began in enterprise, males held the higher hand, financially and socially. And males decreed that good girls should still pass unpainted. Over the subsequent half-century, the sweetness ran hand in hand with women’s growth towards an equivalent position within the public international. portray one’s face and slicing one’s hair signaled a brand new universe of selection and possibility. it really is no twist of fate that lipstick, among the Nineteen Twenties and the 1950s, was once vivid, shiny purple. Helena Rubinstein’s factors have been after all commercial: she desired to be wealthy. yet she additionally sought after independence, the perfect to keep an eye on either her lifestyles and her funds. And the cosmetics not just granted her needs, it mirrored her consumers’ comparable aspirations. this day the wheel has come complete circle. Cosmetics and cosmetic “procedures,” faraway from being unthinkable, became virtually compulsory. Who, now, dares be the single one within the room with wrinkles? paradoxically, even though women’s independence and equality are enshrined in legislation, their visual appeal is once more below an individual else’s keep watch over.