Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)
This book is not only about Von-Teese herself, but she includes others and that also means men who are involved in the beauty equation from all angles. Sutan Amrull, aka Raja wrote, "Makeup is not only an embelishment. It's transformative."
"I could never claim any stand-out striking features. No full lips. No big eyes. There are many 'ideal' traits I wasn't born with. But in that moment with my lips painted Cherries in the Snow red, I felt like a million bucks." ... "I want to live in technicolor"
... and boy, has she managed it!
Beauty is more than a skin deep illusion. It is the expression and exploration of self. Belony Venon wrote on page 280...
"By the time I 'fit in' among my classmates, I was no longer interested in being among them. I wanted to be with the outcasts, the punks, a much older crowd. I was given this beight, these curves, this skin - and I finally realized I had to own 'it.' It was a realization that came within me that my looks are my responsibility. This is who I am and I need to realize me."
If there is one thing to be taken away from this book, is that glamour is hard work. In Von-Teese's case, it's her career as well as her passion. The book contains more people that just the author and blends in history and life events such as her marriage to Marilyn Manson. She is a poster girl for more than just her looks; her dedication and passion for the style and era which she had made her own. Von-Teese is sort-of saying that if she can, anyone can if they're willing to put in the effort.
As you would expect, there is a lot of make-up advice and very nice pictures in the 380 pages of this, roughly LP sized, book. When she details her diet tips, her visits to a dermatologist and everything else she goes through then you have to sit back and admire the time and practice she has put in to her life and career. Obviously, this is going to be a case of picking what is right for you as few readers are going to go full on Von-Teese.
People fall in love with various periods. It's not only the looks but also the lifestyle and the morals that were present in the period that they wish to emulate. There are couples who live in homes from various periods of time like the 50's - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1042702/Time-Warp-Wives-Meet-women-really-live-past.html - one 35 year old lives in 1946 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9fI40Nni3k - and some live in the future - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2092504/Tony-Alleyne-Trekkie-loses-painstakingly-recreated-Star-Trek-flat-ex-wife-divorce.html
Von-Teese has some wonderful cars from the past but she also lives in the present with modern cars and she doesn't always go out in public in full Von-Teese mode either. She has furniture and accessories that also hark back from those earlier decades. This is not just a performance, this is part of her life.
Make up is a powerful force. It is empowering and extremely creative. It goes from enhancement to full-blown illusion. It can also imprison you if you're not careful. I believe that if you can't go to the corner shop and buy some milk without any make up, then it's time to wonder whether you're in control of the mask, or whether it's in control of you. Here's an interesting article on, "Make-Up and it's affect on self esteem" - http://www.thebetterlifeproject.ie/blog/2017/8/28/make-up-and-self-esteem
Make up in the UK is falling out of style. If you're in a customer facing job then you'd be expected to use it, but generally speaking the time and cost involved is an increasing barrier to its on going use in regular life. The USA also seems to be talking more about, "bare minimum," potentially because of the same pressures. However, I don't think that this multi billion dollar industry is going to lay down without a fight.
The relationship between men and make up is examined, but it also goes to the extent of glamour and personal style. It's a holistic thing.
Few of us will employ or enjoy the make up artists, dermatologists, hair designers, etc. that Von-Teese deals with as part of her job, but there is plenty to take from this book; and I'm not just talking about beauty tips either. Sometimes, we need to learn about someone elses life, what they value and what drives them, in order to help gain a perspective on our own. That's what I ultimately found in this book.
As you've probably worked out, my research went outside the book itself, which is one reason why it took me so long to finish reading it. Unfortunately some of the claims appeared not to have been fully researched, like on page 214 that Britain outlawed red lipstick in 1770. That was something which struck me as a bit out of whack so I decided to research it.
As one blogger put it....
"First off, any law or proposed laws in the UK parliament have to be published in the London Gazette - https://www.thegazette.co.uk - this can easily be searched to show no such law was ever proposed in parliament. This myth seems to have originated from a filler piece in a Richmond, Virginia newspaper from 1861 - fillers, as the name implies, were short paragraphs to fill up space in a paper - they were written on the spot if there was a blank space in the layout of the page that needed to be filled, and they tended to be humorous articles that were not meant to be taken seriously" - https://markbellis.blogspot.com/2015/11/no-lipstick-wasnt-made-illegal-in-1770.html
Indeed, I went to The Gazette and did a search for "false pretences" and found nothing for 1770. The closest either side was 1757 and 1775. Neither of them dealing with that matter. Indeed, a search for "cosmetic washes" returned the earliest match in 1858 and a search for the simple word, "cosmetic," only went back a few years further to 1854. "Lipstick" had its first reference in 1951, where in December customs appears to have seized 60 lipsticks in base metal containers, on the grounds that they were prohibited to be exported by section 23 of the Exchange Control Act 1947.
Other errors also crept in, like incomplete page references. "(Her steps in executing a healthy manicure are on page 000 and to do a moon manicure are on pace 000)" ... and it's things like that which rob the book of some of its trustworthiness, especially when the author is promoting her own products within its pages.