The Gilded Aesthetic

The Gilded Aesthetic : June 2012

The Gilded Aesthetic

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Olive Thomas

olive thomas
Olive Thomas burst onto the scene at the age of eighteen, a violet-eyed brunette with delicate looks and a zest for life. She won New York’s Most Beautiful Girl Contest and from there joined Ziegfeld’s Follies. By all accounts, Olive was sweet, funny, and a natural bon vivant. She married Jack Pickford, and the two endured a brief, turbulent marriage.

Despite the puritanical atmosphere of America, stars led wild and debauched lifestyles. Popular leading man Wally Reid battled a morphine addiction. Fatty Arbuckle hosted alcohol-fueled orgies, one of which led to the death of actress Virginia Rappe and a highly-sensationalized murder trial for Fatty. Chaplin married nymphets; Garbo was rumored to sport with other women. Notoriously, William Randolph Hearst shot a man on his yacht. For all the propriety and decorum of the silent film, the realities behind the camera were shocking.   

Jack and Olive fought constantly. Jack himself was rumored to have a heroin addiction, and Olive certainly had her own demons. She was an alcoholic who loved to cavort with other stars at parties and events. She nearly killed a child with her automobile and survived several other wrecks, but wised up enough to hire a chauffeur.

Despite their epic tangles, Jack and Olive loved one another fiercely. They were described as gay and wild “brats,” two beautiful youths who made up as passionately as they came to blows. They licked one another’s wounds with lavish and magnificent presents. Olive was making at least $3,000 dollars a week from her contract with Selznick, and life was good. Or so it seemed until the party was over, and Olive grappled with career dissatisfaction.  

The problem was that Olive felt she didn’t fit in as other starlets did. She bemoaned not having a “type,” and worried about her future marketability. In those days, most actors capitalized on having a type, a role they epitomized in every film. Jack’s sister, Mary Pickford, was known for playing young girls. Pola Negri was a vamp, sexy and sultry. Jack himself played affable young boys. Olive didn’t feel that she fit into a particular type. In today’s acting world, this would be somewhat of a gift. Back then, it could mean the death of a career. Olive’s fears may or may not have been unfounded, but she didn’t live long enough for the world to find out.  

Olive and Jack felt they had been cheated of a decent honeymoon, so the two headed for Paris in August 1920. Some accounts, such as Ken Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, maintain that Jack wasn’t even there when Olive died. He was finishing work on a film and planned to follow Olive, who had gone ahead to shop and explore the city. Other accounts maintain that Jack was in Paris with her. Whatever happened, Olive spent her time partying, shopping, and drinking.

On the night of September 5, accidentally or purposely, Olive ingested mercury bichloride. This liquid was a topical treatment for chronic syphilis, a disease from which Jack suffered. The label on the bottle was in French, Olive was exhausted from a long day, and it’s believed she assumed the bottle contained a sleeping aid. She was taken to a hospital where she died several days later, Jack and actor Owen Moore at her side.  

Olive was 25 years old. Jack never recovered from her death, considering her to have been the love of his life. He remarried several times following Olive’s death, but passed away in 1933, an emaciated and ruined man.  

Olive never attained enduring stardom. She’s one of the lesser known silent film stars, but she was one of the first starlets associated with the term flapper. Olive was high spirited, gorgeous, and generous. She adored a good time and lavished love, attention, and gifts on her friends and lovers. She stood out onscreen and could have been a great talent of the era. The death of Olive Thomas was senseless, but not extraordinary in a sordid and shadowy industry.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Fabulous Femme: Tura Satana

russ meyer
I was introduced to Tura Satana via her work in Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a cult film from 1965. I found that film after watching Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, another crackpot movie of Meyer's, which remains one of my favorite older films because it's stupid, colorful, and bizarre.

I like Tura because she possessed a unique beauty, was outspoken, and wild. She played Varla in FPKK, a violent and confident gangleader/go-go dancer. She wasn't a great actress, but if you have any familiarity with Meyer's films, you know acting was never a priority.

Tura was tall, voluptuous, and fabulous. Her Japanese, Cheyenne Indian, and Scots-Irish blood gave her an individualized, fiesty beauty. She worked as a burlesque performer throughout her early life and in later years developed quite a fan following based on her work in FPKK. A fun fact is that she and Elvis Presley dated, but Tura turned his marriage proposal down and kept the ring.

Tura passed away from heart failure on February 4, 2011.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Misikko Dream Package Giveaway

How I love a good contest! The beauty mavens over at Misikko have launched a new contest giving three people the opportunity to win up to $350 in free products! I almost screamed when I found out about this! I fell in love with the Corioliss wand a while back after the good people at Misikko gave me the honor of reviewing it, and I'm eager to get my paws on some new products. Here's a rundown of the rules:

I recently had my hair highlighted and it still hasn't completely recovered from the trauma. What I wouldn't give to have this Moroccan Oil Restorative Gift Set to pamper my tortured hair. The reviews are excellent and I've heard the best things about Moroccan Oil! Le sigh! I long for the days when I can run my fingers through healthy, silky hair.

I've been hurting for a good dryer for years! My current one barely does an adequate job, but this sleek beauty comes with rave reviews. It dries hair fast and even improves the look of hair. With all the dying and fussing I do, I could sure use a salon model Solano. Love the design, too! My locks are begging for this dryer!

Goodness, I'm greedy! My last two coveted items would have to be Opium Perfume for Women by Yves Saint Laurent AND the adorable Burberry Perfume for Women by Burberry.

I've loved Opium ever since my grandmother gave me a half-empty bottle when I was 16, not to mention since I saw that gorgeous ad with Sophie Dahl! She looked like a marble statue! My sister absolutely adores Burberry and she hasn't the ability to pamper herself lately, so I would love to be able to give her a bottle!

Thanks to the experts at Misikko, I'm going to be dreaming and wishing and longing and sighing for this dream package for weeks! Three people will win and I'd better be one of them, but get cracking on your post and dream of this luxury package! I'm already salivating!

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Beauty Tips of the Week: June 20, 2012

  • Apricot scrub is excellent for stretch marks. Use it in the shower with a loofah or towel, exfoliate your scars, and then follow with a moisturizing agent of some kind. Vitamin E oil would be good, but lotion should work just fine. This will take many months, but you should see definite improvement.
  • Rosewater makes an excellent toner. It smells sweet, plus feels cool. It helps your moisturizer to soak into your skin.
  • Bruhaha Tea is great! I've been drinking the stuff like crazy, especially their slimming and anti-aging tea. It's difficult to find, but if you've got anything like a T.J. Maxx in your area, try there.
  • A dot of white on the corner of your eyes makes you look more awake and brightens your face.
  • Want your hair to grow? Wild Growth Hair Oil has helped me. It's cheap and a bottle lasts forever. I use it infrequently, but have seen results. It's also good as a hair treatment.
  • If your skin needs some nourishment, try the oil cleansing method. Mix olive and castor oil together, then apply to your face in circular motions. Soak a towel in warm water and lay on your face. Wipe oil off and repeat if you wish. It IMMEDIATELY makes your skin healthy and luminous.
  • Tonalin CLA is great for a weight loss plan. It's a healthy fat and helps to reduce your weight. It specifically targets your hips and stomach.