The Adventure of Beauty
Musée d’Art et d’histoire du Judaïsm in Paris invites to an exhibition in homage to the work and life of Helena Rubinstein (1872-1965.) Not only did she build a worldwide beauty empire, she was also a pioneer of female independence. She refused her family’s many attempts at an arranged marriage and at the age of 24 she moved alone to Australia, along the way she subtracted 9 years from her passport and changed her name from Chaja to Helena Juliet. In Australia she started to make her own beauty creams, which would be the beginning of a life shared between London, Paris, New York and Tel Aviv.
She invented the waterproof mascara, which is still a bestseller!
The exhibition shows pieces from her vast art collection, wardrobe and original make-up packaging alongside photos of the beauty saloons she designed. It tells the story of her successes and challenges and portraits the first half of the 20th century Paris, which was the city she particularly loved and where she befriended and collaborated with the avant-garde of those days. She posed for artists such as Sarah Lipska, Salvador Dalí and Marie Laurencin, always wearing creations of top couturiers of her time: Poiret, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior. Into her last days she remained elegant: in her coffin she lay clothed in a rhinestone-embroided tunic by Yves Saint Laurent.
Her most famous quote must be
“there are no ugly women, only lazy ones”.
The exhibition ‘Helena Rubinstein. The Adventure of Beauty’ can be seen at the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme in Paris until 25th August.
Words KARIN WESTERLUND