CGN’s Insider Report: Unexpected Beauty Reads
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!