Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Look Book (2011)

We give this book: one disembodied-arm-and-a-thumb's-up! Also, note Mia Farrow's baby doll swagger on the cover. SOLD!

The Look Book
by Erika Stalder
is full of tutorials for copying your favorite glamour figure's iconic looks. Want Mary Pickford's golden curls? Edie Sedgwick's raccoon ringed eyes? Twiggy's kewpie doll lashes? Frida Kahlo's braided up do? I mean really, who doesn't?!

Photobucket Photobucket
Clockwise from top:Yes, yes, yes, aaaaand....yes. Go ahead and fill in my calendar with looks to try this week.

I feel like during the retro pop-culture saturated 80's and 90's, there were LOTS of books out there for teens to discover past fads and fashions. One of my favorites, which I treated with the reverence due an illuminated text, was Life's a Movie Starring You! by Jennifur Brandt (yes, she spelled her name that way; remember when everyone was trying to figure out alternative, more riot grrl ways of spelling their names? I knew one kid who was Witné for a whole semester).

What I liked about that book, and what I like about this one, is the opportunity for a thirteen year old girl with a lot of imagination to discover outlets for that creativity in past fashion and an AFFIRMATION that doing so is not weird; in fact, it's desirable behavior for cool kids!. In my case, I suddenly wasn't limited to Mudd jeans and Arizona Clothing Company cropped t-shirts. There was a whole new sartorial world out there, outside the JC Penney's, and inside the thrift store, just waiting for me!

But I digress.

The Look Book not only walks you through the process of replicating the makeup and hair of the stars, but also gives you a little background on the actress's life and legend, including the creation of the style trick you'll be performing on yourself. Did you know:
  • The Clara Bow "bow" (below left) was originally designed by Max Factor to keep "actress' pomade-based lip color[from] running into the corners of their mouths and bleeding into their foundation"?
  • Max Factor innovation struck again when he worked with Joan Crawford to create her 40's makeup signature, "smear lips" (below right, also known as "Hunter's bow")?
Did you recognize the Crawford portrait as a copycat pose of the famous 1928 Steichen portrait of Greta Garbo? See! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

I wish I'd had this book as a companion piece to the Brandt book in 1997, but as it is, even at the ripe old age of twenty-six I'm happy to have and hold the knowledge of how to get this lipstick or that mascara wand to really work for me with a degree of professional quality. Somehow, in those pre-youtube high school days, I slugged through in my ignorance of lipstick, and only by necessity (ie having goggle sized eyes) learned eyeliner and mascara tricks. There are few, ill advised, homecoming pictures of me trying the wrong, dark red shade of lipstick, when I'd hoped for a crimson slash a la Bette Davis... but never again! Each "look" comes with a step-by-step procedure as well as illustrations for the correct outline or setting pattern, in the case of hair tutorials. I like to think of all the looks I haven't attempted yet that may be just perfectly suite to me; you never know until you try one on for size! Perfect example: did you know Clark Gable AND Errol Flynn's face and look defining pencil mustaches were both copped from Ronald Colman?

A triptych of mustachioed hotness...they need a vintage style guide for men as the male counterpart to The Look Book!

Take a look inside the book at either Amazon or Google books, then give it a shot at your local library-- and when you show up to work next week with Sophia Loren's mascara and Veronica Lake's hair, you'll have me and the young adult collection at the Nashville Public Library to thank! :)

Bonus: Check out this photo I found of Twiggy applying her own makeup. I've never seen it before, and it's greeeeeat:


Doesn't it make you want to go 100% dolly bird for a day?

Do you have any vintage beauty tutorials or tips that have served you well in the emulation of eras gone by? Is there a particular vintage style icon you think of while teasing your hair? Tell!

Til next time.

Contributing makeup artist Christopher Fulton's site
Erika Stadler's site


  1. Oooh I want this book! Frida Kahlo and Clara Bow are two of my favorite ladies -- so beautiful, so iconic!

  2. oh this seems definitely a book worth reading again and again and trying them all! just fabulous! thanks for sharing darling!
    love and kiss,mary



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