Tag Archives: beauty books

Beauté du Siecle

Beauty Of Our Time: Beauté Du Siècle

June 9, 2013

You may not know this about me, but… I am absolutely fascinated by the subject of beauty!

Poetry, music, art, science. Everything draws inspiration from beauty. It is not something you can easily define and hold onto. Rather, beauty is coquettish. Full of elusive meanings and flabbergasting  delight.

I always like to know and learn more about the role that beauty has played across time and across different cultures.

So when delving deeply into a subject, I often turn to books, which will forever be a source of enlightenment.

This week, a real jewel of a book arrived and became part of my ever growing collection of beauty literature.

The book is called Beauté du Siecle.

And it is a super shiny 400 page silver monolith of a book.

Beauté du Siecle

Beauté du Siecle is the collaborative work of several journalists and fashion magazine editors.

The book is dedicated to the history of women’s beauty:

“From the heroines of antiquity to the goddesses of modern times… each epoch chooses its archetypes, erects its own myths and invents its new recipes.” 

First, we are taken on a historic tour, which begins in ancient Egypt and guides us along to modern times. Then the book jumps across different domains, from art, cosmetics, magazines to perfumes.

There is a section dedicated to ethnic beauty, which is something that I am particularly interested in, as it is a story that is rarely told.

And of course, what would a beauty book be without a visual component?

The images within this book are truly marvelous and were chosen with exquisite taste.

Beauté du Siecle

Beauté du Siecle describes itself as a book that shows how our appetite for novelty constantly triggers the emergence of ideals of perfection, which are as unrealistic as they are ephemeral.

I only hope my french is up to par to understand all the highbrow and flowery language contained in this book…

But I’m up for the challenge.

Audrey Hepburn

Book Review: How To Be Adored by Caroline Cox

March 8, 2013

How To Be Adored by Caroline Cox

As a book that touts being “A Girl’s Guide To Hollywood Glamour,” How To Be Adored by Carol Cox is a book geared towards helping you achieve that glitzy va va voom.

It is an entertaining read, filled with numerous anecdotal tidbits of hollywood celebrities (past and present) and lots of great beauty tips.

The book begins by tackling the question of glamour. What is glamour? It’s not about having the prettiest face. According to the book, glamour is a certain kind of magical magnetism. It must originate first from belief in your own attractiveness. And is then bolstered by the right combination of artifice… such as “make-up, hair design and all the frills and furbelows of fashion.”

The focus then shifts to how to dress best for your body shape. The shapes are categorized as Ballerinas like Audrey Hepburn, Hourglasses like Marilyn Monroe, “Balconies” like Elizabeth Hurly (big busted and slender-hipped), “Pocket Rockets” like Kylie Minogue (short but well-proportioned) and “Adorably Big and Beautiful” like Mae West. There are tips on figuring out your body shape and how to emphasize your best assets.

The rest of the book goes on to focus on fashion, make-up, hair care, as well as advice on developing an “adorable personality,” modifying your voice to bring out its charm, advice on relationships, how to descend a staircase movie-star-style as well as a list of hotels around the world where you can pose and have your photo taken.

Ok, to be honest, there was a lot of stuff in this book that I found rather silly.

Especially when it came to the do’s and don’ts. Like DON’T swig out of a bottle or a can. You should always drink from a glass with an olive. Or, DON’T date footballers because they will make you look cheap. I mean, who’s laying down these rules? If someone offers me a bottle of Brooklyn Lager I’m definitely going to drink out of it. And what if your footballer boyfriend happens to be a genuinely awesome person?

But anyway, there were some tips that can ring true for anyone and any time.

For example, I pretty much agreed with everything in the “How To Have An Adorable Personality” section.  Who can argue with advice like: Be good at listening. Don’t laugh at others’ mistakes. Be relaxed. And just be nice.

There were also some really interesting makeup and hair care tips. I pored over the sections about how Marilyn Monroe did her makeup, how to achieve Marlene Dietrich’s well-defined cheekbones and how Beyoncé gets her diva glow.

As for haircare, there are tips on how to color your hair if you want to go platinum blonde like Jean Harlow or Gwen Stefani. Or if you want to get highlights like Penelope Cruz without that obviously highlighted streaked look. There are also simple tips on maintaining the quality of your hair and why Mason Pearson brushes are the best hairbrushes in the world.

Unfortunately, there was very little that was said about skincare. The only part dedicated to skincare is a brief explanation of how Audrey Hepburn washed her face with hot water and a solid black cleansing bar fashioned from concentrated minerals. Personally, I don’t advice the use of hot water on your face, or the use of just any old bar of soap.

Despite being so small, the book does a great job of touching on a various range of topics. I especially enjoyed the stories and examples based on hollywood movie stars, especially the old time movie stars like Audrey Hepburn. There are some sections that I think could have been skipped (like the hotels section). I would have preferred it if the author had dedicated more time instead to elaborate on the makeup and hair sections, which I really enjoyed.

Overall, “How To Be Adored” by Caroline Cox is entertaining enough and filled with enough beauty tips and tricks to make it worth your while.

PHOTOS

How To Be Adored by Caroline Cox

Glamour Secrets by Marilyn Monroe

Sophia Loren

Audrey Hepburn

The Book: How To Be Adored by Caroline Cox. 2009 Quadrille Publishing Ltd.
Find It: W.H. Smith bookstore in Paris. Or Amazon.com.