The Gilded Aesthetic

The Gilded Aesthetic : June 2009

The Gilded Aesthetic

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Excerpt from "My Lady Scandalous"

This is an excerpt from a fascinating book by Jo Manning about Grace Dalrymple Elliott, a celebrated courtesan from the British Regency era.

"Those coveted white complexions held a deadly secret: ceruse. Not all women had naturally pale, ivory-colored complexions. Nature could be assisted by the use of a mixture of white lead and vinegar, a thick paste that was applied as foundation to the face, neck, and bosom. The first record of its use was in Tudor times, the 1500s. Not only was a desirable white complexion achieved, but this concoction successfully hid what smallpox left behind: pits and scars. (Acne would also be covered.) Unfortunately, white lead was a killer. Mercury, used for facial peels, was deadly as well. Vermilion (mercuric sulfide), used to paint lips and cheeks, was also dangerous. Belladonna, which made the eyes sparkle (it dilated the pupils and whitened the whites), was a toxic hallucinogen. Applied to the cheeks, it was a kind of blusher, as the plant irritated the skin and caused redness. Safer cosmetics were prepared from madder, cochineal, and ochre, for lips and cheeks, and kohl (powdered antimony), to line the eyelids. Overapplication of ceruse would, like today's Botox, limit a user's ability to smile; cracks would appear on the thickly used base. There was also a good possibility the user would die, as a number of aristocratic women and their demimondaine sisters did. Women of the lower classes, with no money to purchase these artificial aids to beauty, were likely to live longer."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beauty Tips of the Week: June 22, 2009

1. Purchase raw shea butter (expensive!) and combine in a container with olive oil. Apply this to stretch marks daily for a few months to see results.

2. Coconut oil is better than olive oil for the health of your hair. Indian women use it often to silkify their hair.

3. A sea salt bath will draw impurities out of the body and feel really good.

4. Hold a banana peel over a bruise for 10-30 minutes. It's said that a chemical in the banana peel will draw out the discoloration.

5. Coat your feet in olive oil, vaseline, or any other oil and put socks on. Sleep this way and you'll find your feet are soft by morning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rococo Delights

The cake is here because it looks so good.... OM NOM NOM!

Hats and Heels

The majority of these gorgeous images are from the movie "Marie Antoinette." Enjoy this veritable orgasm for the eyes!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bon Vivant!

Look at these gorgeous shoes by Irregular Choice, a designer based out of London. I'm in love with them, some of them are perfectly reminiscent of Marie Antoinette and other historical ladies of the court! These are my favorites. When I have the money, I'm going to splurge on a pair.

Beauty Tips of the Week: June 15, 2009

To Achieve a Lily-Fair Complexion:

1. Wash face with a nice bar of black licorice soap. This is said to be amazing for skin lightening. Many Asian women use it to lighten their skin tone.

2. Tremella Mushroom. Another favorite in Asian countries, this supplement is supposed to make your skin super soft, pliant, and white.

3. Glutathione supplements are another skin lightener. You can track them down on a discount vitamin website, like vitacost.

4. Apply lemon, plain yogurt, and turmeric powder to the skin as a mask for 20 minutes. Indian women use this secret.

5. If everything else fails, you can always use makeup. Blend a light powder with a lilac base and layer until you achieve the desired pale look.

Remember, all skin tones are gorgeous and rock whatever you have!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Marilyn Monroe: The Talk of Hollywood - Life Magazine Article

Borrowed from Vintage Articles:

Life Magazine

April 7, 1952

Marilyn Monroe: The Talk of Hollywood

Every so often, more in hope than conviction, Hollywood annouces the advent of a sensational glamour girl, guaranteed to entice people from all lands to the box office. Usually the sensation fizzles. But today the most respected studio seers, in a crescendo of talk unparalleled since the debut of Rita Hayworth, are saying that the genuine article is here at last: a sturdy blonde named Marilyn Monroe.

Three years ago Marilyn was trying to get a start like any other starlet: a low-salary contract with 20th Century-Fox, small parts in movies, choice as Miss Flamethrower by an Army unit. She even posed for calendar art for a few badly needed extra pennies. Somewhere between her ingenous mind and voluptuous body came a spark of the kind that makes movie personalities. Her bit parts stood out in big films (All About Eve, Asphalt Jungle). Today she is topic A-plus in Hollywood. She gets 5000 fan letters a week and is being costarred simultaneously in films with Cary Grant, Richard Widmark, Charles Laughton.


Marilyn was being driven down a California scenic route recently by an admirer when she volunteered the information, "I was born under the sign of Gemini. That stands for the intellect." "Yes?" said the admirer. "Everybody else I've told that to," said Marilyn, "laughed." Because, her movie role is always that of a dumb blonde. Hollywood generally supposes she is pretty dumb herself. This is a delusion. Marilyn is naive and guileless. But she is smart enough to have known how to make a success in the cutthroat world of glamour. She does it by being as wholly natural as the world will allow. Physically she has many of the attributes of Jean Harlow. But there is no suggestion of hardness or tartness in Marilyn. She is relaxed, warm, apparently absorbed by whatever man she has her big blue eyes fixed on at any particular moment. "I've given pure sex appeal very little thought," she says, "If I had to think about it I'm sure it would frighten me."

What does she think about the expresses in aphorisms. On clothes: "I dress for men. A woman looks at your clothes critically. A man appreciates them." On eating with a man: "I don't give the food much thought." On walking: "I use walking to just get me around." On resting: "I sit down the way I feel." On men: "They seem to understand me." On herself: "I am very definitely a woman and I enjoy it."

Marilyn never finished high school but she is devoted to the intellectual life. She sprinkles her conversation with lines from Thomas Wolfe and Browning, with the same candid simplicity she uses in describing her dumbbell exercises: "I'm fighting gravity. If you don't fight gravity, you sag." Her candor sometimes disconcerts interviewers. "Once this fellow says, 'Marilyn, what do you wear to bed?' So I said I only wear Chanel No. 5 and he groans, 'Oh no, I can't use that.'"

Marilyn's real name is Norma Jeane Mortenson, though she generally gives it as Baker, apparently because her father was a baker. She was brought up at municipal expense in 12 different foster homes in Los Angeles. The first family was intensely religious. "To go to a movie was a sin," recalls Marilyn. "Every night I was told to pray that I would not wake up in hell." The next family was comprised of movie bit players: "They drank and danced and played cards. Oh, how I prayed for them." Another one gave her empty whiskey bottles as her only toys. She was a skinny child, something of an ugly duckling. At 16, to avoid being sent to an orphanage, she married an aircraft worker and was divorced two years later. Marilyn looks back on the hard knocks of her youth with no particular self-pity and only hopes they may have taught her a few things about people which will help her in her career. For, with all Hollywood at her feet, she is obsessed by an irrational childhood ambition: she wants very much to became an actress.

-Transcribed by Melinda

Jean Harlow Gets Around

I haven't always thought much of Jean Harlow, probably because of all the Marilyn Monroe comparisons. Monroe is my number one girl, but I've come to love Jean Harlow because of her spirit. In my opinion, when you watch old movie stars, they have an affected manner, a way of acting that is distinctly of their time. Not so with Harlow. She was funny, had great timing, cute facial expressions, and a modern type of confidence. She's the one star who could have been magically transplanted into modern Hollywood and made it.

Harlow was everybody's baby. Beloved by all her friends and family, that became her nickname. When she died at the young age of 26 from a kidney attack, her tombstone was inscribed: Our Baby.

This is an awesome video from Youtube of Harlow set to The Dragonette's "I Get Around." The song rocks and Harlow is so charming. I really dig her.

Make Your Own Coffee, Harvey...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Plumes and Pearls

This shop is darling! They make little gifts in the style of the 18th century, like little tins and scented powders named after famous women of the time. What a neat idea! Hop on over for a unique gift:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Duchess of Devonshire's Guide to the 18th Century

I recently found this marvelous site. It focuses on the beauty secrets, lives, and intrigues of tarts from the 18th and 19th centuries. An interesting and informational feature is the "Tart of the Week," in which the history of an obscure tart is examined. It's a well done and beautiful blog, so please visit!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Beauty Tips of the Week: June 8, 2009

* Masks are not just for your face. On a day of pampering, apply a mud firming mask to your arms, breasts, even your derriere. It's preferable to do this after a steamy shower/bath, then stand around and fix your hair, makeup; do whatever will keep you on your feet a few minutes.

* When taking a shower, it's fine to use warm water. But it can be quite beneficial for the quality of your skin to stand under an icy shower for a few moments. Warm water causes blood to rush to the surface of your skin, making it a little more squishy. Cold water forces blood away from the surface, making your skin firm and smooth. Plus, cold water is such a good shock for your system. Just don't do this if you have a sensitive heart!

* Always moisturize your body after a bath or shower. Not moisturizing your skin is like begging for stretch marks and dryness. When skin isn't kept moist and plump. any weight loss or gain will be more likely to show up in the form of stretch marks. Concentrate especially on your breasts, abdomen, elbows, knees, and the rest of your legs. These areas need the extra moisturizer.

* One of the best beauty secrets I heard was in regards to hair: treat your hair like a silk shirt. You wouldn't rip a piece of fine silk with a comb, so why do it to your hair? This isn't always an easy rule to follow, especially if you have thick hair that tangles after EVERY bath. Here are a few tidbits:

1. Use your fingertips, not your nails to massage shampoo into hair.
2. When rinsing, use the shower head and not the bath water you've been marinating in for the past half hour. That
bath water is full of dirt and oils from your body.
3. Allow conditioner to sit on hair for at least 2 minutes. Try to keep it away from your scalp to avoid oily head.
4. Rinse with ice cold water.
5. If possible, sleep on a silk pillowcase. This sounds too luxurious, even to me, but it is great for your hair.

* In our weight-obsessed culture, we receive quite a load of conflicting information. You can lose if you starve, you have to eat six meals a day, you have to work out, you don't have to work out, et cetera. It's especially popular right now to avoid fasting, but I am here to endorse The Fast. For one, one or two days of scanty eating is not going to hurt you. It's great for cleansing your body, giving your organs a rest, and gathering spiritual energy. Why do you think so many religious people fast? It's not a punishment, but rather a beauty ritual.

1. If you have been overeating and find it hard to get back on track, one day of fasting can do wonders. You'll wake up feeling refreshed and lighter.
2. A fast doesn't necessarily mean, don't eat a single calorie. Rather, it means to allow your body to rest. Don't consume food that will tax your system. If you want, you can eat yogurt with honey all day. Or apples (Edgar Cayce recommends an Apple Fast for good health). Or, as one socialite endorses, lay in bed all day and drink vegetable broth. She claims it's marvelous for the body.
3. Do it however you like. Make a day of it. Lie on the couch under a luxurious blanket and drink green tea while wearing a face mask. Spend the day naked in your bedroom, just being lazy. But don't do anything that exhausts you! And if you begin to feel weak or sick, eat something pronto! You cannot lose weight in a day and this is not meant for weight loss!

I hope today's Fab Five has been helpful! Be good to your body!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Beauty Tips from Jean Harlow


Hollywood Beauty Shop

Conducted by Carolyn Van Wyck

All the beauty tricks of all the stars brought to you each month

Jean Harlow is representative of an extreme, exotic type of beauty. Her platinum hair set a world-wide vogue. Her half-moon brows accent her pastel coloring. Make-up is concentrated at eyes and mouth. She depends upon good health, fresh air, exercise, cream, soap and water, followed by an ice water rinse, for her perfect skin. Note her lashes. They are naturally long.

• High, narrow and very arched are Jean’s eyebrows. She uses a finely pointed eyebrow pencil. The high brow enlarges the eye, gives clarity, an appealing quality.

• Jean uses a true red cream rouge for her lips, blending the line perfectly and carrying the color well inside to prevent a break in tone. Those very long lashes are black.

• Skin-tone powder is then puffed lightly but thoroughly over Jean’s face and neck, with special attention to nostrils, eye corners and chin. And, always brush from brows.

• Jean’s platinum halo has probably aroused more comment and curiosity than any one feature of any star. Naturally blonde, Jean encourages whiteness by weekly shampoos with white soap and a final rinse containing a few drops of French bluing. She brushes for softness, sets her wave with water and vinegar."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Beauty Tips of the Week: June 1, 2009

1. After cleansing, apply your moisturizer while skin is still damp. This will lock in moisture and keep skin plump and healthy.

2. Put a dot of shimmery gold eye shadow in the middle of each eyelid. This will capture the light and make your eyes look luminous.

3. Eat eggs several times a week for healthy protein. This will keep you energized, as well as help hair, skin, and nails stay healthy.

4. Cellulite? Drink plenty of water and brush skin with a soft brush, ideally every day. Warm coffee grounds rubbed into the skin are said to eliminate cellulite, but be ready to do some major cleanup!

5. Water proof mascaras dry and tighten your lashes, which can lead to break offs. Never curl lashes with mascara already applied, this can also cause them to break off. Apply a mixture of olive oil and castor oil to your eyelashes, root to tip, bottom and top, every evening for lush, thick lashes. Some people report results after only one treatment.