What’s going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.
When in Rome: Video on re-creating the intricate braid style of the Vestal virgins. Awesome. (via Maya Resnikoff)
Toeing the line: An undercover cop in Iowa got a pedicure and then busted a salon owner for illegally serving alcohol to clients, and the nation stays safe for another day.
…And Everything In Between:
Going glocal: With the news of Chinese and Korean brands surging forward despite competition from established Western lines, it’s easy to forget that smaller economies don’t have the marketing power of their Chinese or Korean counterparts. The domestic Vietnamese cosmetics market is ailing, with Western corporations like Unilever buying out local lines and cannibalizing them entirely.
Green machine: What the “greening” of the beauty industry (or at least, of consumer tastes) means for larger, more established brands.
Agency provocateur: Victoria’s Secret model Constance Jablonski is being sued by her former management agency for breach of contract; Marilyn Model Management claims that her new agency poached her under dubious circumstances. Agencies actually lose money on a good portion of their models, the idea being that if even one of them scores big—say, becoming a Victoria’s Secret model recognizable by name—those multimillion-dollar contracts make up for the paltry (or nonexistent) payment of editorial work. So this isn’t just big business for agencies; it’s the business.
Le roi de lipstick: Profile of France’s young “cosmetics king,” Bris Rocher, heir to the Yves Rocher company. (And since when are 34-year-olds “digital natives”? They remember landlines, right?)
On politics: I’m Barack Obama and I approve these bangs.
Israeli gears: Remember when it came out that Yes to Carrots may have been covering their ties to Israel? Turns out they just aren’t manufacturing products in Israel any longer.
Where does it begin?: Deeply compelling piece about November’s garment factory fire in Bangladesh that led to the deaths of more than 100 workers—from the designer of the cheap garments the factory specialized in. “My point is, this fire was lit by me. I am the one who asked our factories to make a $9 blouse, and, by default, Bangladesh is one of two countries in which clothing can be imported duty free.”
Facing up: The nice thing: Vogue Italia featured an Asian model on their cover (a feat that American Vogue has yet to do). The not-nice thing: The editor says that discrimination doesn’t exist. Discrimination in fashion? What are you suggesting, my sweets?
Got MILF?: Intelligent debate on the term MILF, of all things (is it just me, or is Canadian radio way better than American radio?). Is it a way of saying “For a mom, you’re not bad…for a night” or of acknowledging that a woman can be maternal and sexual at the same time? (A commenter once called me a MILF and I admit I thought it was sort of cool. I liked the nod to the fact that I’m no spring chicken but can still turn a head or two; for whatever reason it seemed more of a compliment than something that didn’t acknowledge my age, despite its crassness. But I’m also not actually a mother, so I didn’t take it as anything other than a comment on age—and the fact it’s only happened once means it’s amusing, not annoying. Thoughts?)
Lifting weight: Should you do anything as a gym-goer when you suspect a fellow trainer has an eating disorder?
Tattoo you: At last, an equivalent term to that nasty little term used for lower-back tattoos—exclusively on women, of course: gramp stamp.
Go here to learn more about The Illusionists.
Attention, New Yorkers: The Athena Film Festival (which has some awesome-sounding films about women and leadership) is previewing The Illusionists, which longtime readers will remember from director Elena Rossini’s guest post. Get (free) tickets for the February 10 showing here. I’ve seen the preview, and it’s making me super-jazzed for the full documentary: Rossini’s interview subjects really get to the heart of beauty culture and advertising, with a keen, penetrative perspective that goes beyond the stuff most readers of this blog would already know and likely agree with.
On subjectivity: Thought-provoking interview with feminist philosopher Ann Cahill. The whole thing is worth a read, but in particular readers here will like chewing on her thoughts on beauty: “[A]spects of common practices of feminine beautification have the potential to enhance women’s subjectivity and flourishing…. these processes provide women with an opportunity to care for each other’s bodies, to share expertise and insight, to honour and pay attention not only to their own embodiment, but to their intercorporeality. … The problem, as I see it, is that almost all of those aspects of that process that I find to be enhancing of one’s embodied intersubjectivity pretty much disappear once the beautified woman walks onto the public stage. Now her beauty is seen not as the admirable result of some communal aesthetic process, one that requires judgment and creativity and care, but rather as a kind of gendered duty that gains its primary meaning from how it positions her in the heterosexual marketplace.” (Thanks to Badaude for the link!)
No more denim leg!: Finally, a cure for the dreaded denim leg. Oh, you know what I mean—how denim notoriously dries out your legs. But luckily the Denim Spa brand came along to offer moisturizing jeans (or, if you prefer, “moist slacks”). At last, chickadees, we may begin to live.
Beauty queened: Meli at Wild Beauty muses on beauty pageants—particularly intriguing because of her personal history as a feminist raised in the South, a region far friendlier to beauty pageants than Yankees are. Bonus: short Q&A with a real! live! beauty queen!
Blushing brides: It’s not wedding season at all! But two nice wedding pieces this week nonetheless. Take it from the recently married Lexie of Beauty Redefined: You don’t have to do the whole bride freakout thing pre-wedding. Then read Kate Fridkis on her sudden decision to shoo away her makeup artist at her wedding (warning: may make you tear up, if you are like me and a sucker for a good wedding story): “A perfect bride with a perfect face was nowhere to be seen. Instead, here was a woman who had been a little homeschooled girl running around in the woods pretending to be a warrior princess with a spear she made out of a stick, who had never learned how to be properly sexy or care about cosmetics.”
Face slimmer?!: Two intrepid bloggers take Japanese beauty devices to the streets of Nashville (and in true Nashville style, they’re serenaded by a guitarist who improvises an ode to Japanese beauty products).