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 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 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.