CGN’s Insider Report: Unexpected Beauty Reads

Posted November 2, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Building Your Brand

I love to read — I have since I was a young girl. I use books as an escape and as user-friendly educational tools. I am particularly fond of  autobiographies and biographies because most times I get a history lesson through the telling of the story. (This two-birds-with-one-stone approach appeals to the 13-year-old in me — I’m learning without even realizing it!)

Recently, Beautylish highlighted three classic beauty must-reads, which prompted me to reflect on books that influenced my overall beauty and fashion approach. So in honor of the women who inspired, influenced, and educated a self-conscious young woman from Delafiald, Wisconsin —

I offer you 3 unexpected beauty reads

  • What Fresh Hell is This? Dorothy Parker’s biography by Marion Meade. The Algonquin Roundtable? Lillian Hellman? Noel Coward? Ring a bell?  Then you MUST read this book. Dorothy Parker was a founding member of the Algonquin Roundtable — a group of New York city writers, critics, and journalists who met EVERY DAY for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel in the 1920’s and 30’s — they are credited with developing and disseminating some of our most beloved cliches. Ms. Parker was not a classic beauty, but she brought an elegance and witty retort wherever she went. She looked like a lady, but her intellect and sharp mind won her the respect of her male colleagues. Here’s a shocker for you — many of her female contemporaries found her, shall we say, off-putting…a bit too opinionated for their delicate sensibilities. Lucky for us, she kept on blazing the trail.
  • D.V., Diana Vreeland’s autobiography. Before Cathie Black, Kate White, or Anna Wintour, there was Diana Vreeland. A raconteur who influenced haute couture for more than 50 years as she lead fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Again, not a classic beauty, so instead of trying to conform to the beauty standard du jour, she embraced her unique beauty and developed a personal style all her own. Ms. Vreeland taught me to walk quietly and carry a big stick. She believed the true sign of a lady was the lightness of a woman’s step combined with a power-packed brain. Love. Her.
  • Madame, Helena Rubenstein’s biography by Patrick O’ Higgins. Helena Rubenstein stormed the beauty industry at the turn of the 20th century. She immigrated from  Poland at a young age and built her fortune in the United States one beauty potion at a time. Elegant, savvy, and tenacious (to put it politely) she presented an imposing presence and gave Elizabeth Arden a run for her money. Ms. Arden was reputed for calling Madame Rubenstein the “woman down the street.”

These books offer sage fashion and beauty advice, a little gossip, and a whole lot of  inspiration. Tell us your favorite beauty read!

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.