Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Beautiful People's Beauty Book

During my research for book recommendations for my book club, and inspired by the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" where an average girl, played by Ann Hathaway, is transformed into an astonishing beauty, I wanted a beauty book with a story. A story about beauty inside and out.

On Amazon, I came across "The Beautiful People's Beauty Book", a vintage (1971) book written by Luciana Avedon (now Princess Luciana Pignatelli; While the U.S. has a four class system comprising lower, middle, upper class and celebrities, Europe has another class-o-sphere of nobility including dukes/duchesses, princes/princesses, counts/countesses, knights, merlins, etc).

After ordering the book for my own historical knowledge (book was published when I was three toddler years old at the time) and retro curiosity, the book details the cumbersome techniques employed by women of this bell-bottom pants and any- hair style-goes period. It also allays my fear that these women were born strikingly beautiful. Not at all. Cosmetic surgery and household ingredients were the tricks --tried and tested by the most notable socialites.

Luciana enlisted many friends including other princesses and countesses. The only recognizable name in her "list of friends" was Sophia Loren.

Before studying the book, I made a list of ingredients my grandmother used at the same time period for hair or skin--beer, mayonnaise, olive oil, egg whites... Would any of these show up on the 70's European socialite's list? Let's take a look...

On lifestyle and beauty:"If your lifestyle is casual, add a few eyelashes and maybe a hairpiece and forget exotic endeavors." Krysha agrees.
On skincare:"An excellent astringent mask, the rage a few years ago with Paris homosexuals, is this: Take the white of one egg, a teaspoon of the best olive oil, beat, apply for 20 minutes. Remove with a hot face towel, lace trim optional." Krysha will try.
On dieting: discipline which later I learn means starving oneself. Krysha disagrees. 30 years later we know that starving leads to more body fat and less muscled and quick weight gain later.
Luciana also recommends private bedrooms, facial exercises (OK), and walking as part of exercise. Some eyebrow raising recommendations include the prototype for the right kinds of husbands and lovers.
To read more, order the book now on Amazon. I must warn you that the book is out print and there are only a few used editions. The price range is $100 and one is listed for ONE THOUSAND dollars.


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