Style is more than just clothing and accessories. Face of The Century
by Kate de Castelbajac demonstrates that what women put on their faces
throughout history has as much significance as their garments.
A natural companion to vintage fashion lovers, this book eloquently
ties social culture into the evolution of the cosmetics industry. The
development of science, historical events, and the changing roles of women
have all had an impact.
Castelbajac starts at the turn of the century when few cosmetics
were commercially produced, a time when corks were burned, the ashes used
as eye shadow. The final chapter summarizes beauty antidotes of today,
leading to the fad for skin dermabrasion, which leaves one bloody yet
takes years, not to mention layers, off a face.
Face of the Century is an excellent resource, loaded with
page after page of interesting facts. It also introduces beauty pioneers
like Eugene Schuller, the French chemist who created synthetic hair color
and Harriet Hubbard, the US woman who imported the manicuring trade from
France 1870. There's plenty of historical background here, much of it
centered on early female entrepreneurs.
More than just biography, the 192 page volume traces the rise of
the beauty industry at each stage, describing all popular makeup trends
and etiquette by decade. Rich in detail and historically relevant, it is
particularly shocking to learn what went into cosmetics and on faces prior
to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
Well researched, the biography contains worldwide sources,
including rare French and Japanese magazines. The book is liberally
illustrated with breathtaking full color photographs, and full page
vintage advertisements. Also useful is an index of cosmetic company
histories (Avon, Yardley, etc.) and biographies tracing the careers of
cosmetic pioneers like Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. Organized
by decade, each chapter concludes with a description of dressing table
products common to the era.
Published by Rizzoli Books, 1995
300 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010