War Paint: Madame Helena Rubinstein and Miss Elizabeth Arden, Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry

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9780471487784: War Paint: Madame Helena Rubinstein and Miss Elizabeth Arden, Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry

Now a new musical starring two-time Tony Award winners Patti LuPone (Evita, Gypsy) as Helena Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole (42nd Street, Grey Gardens) as Elizabeth Arden.

A fascinating dual biography of the women who founded today's beauty industry

They were both born in the nineteenth century in humble circumstances―Helena Rubinstein in an orthodox Jewish household in Kraków, Poland, Elizabeth Arden on a farm outside Toronto. But by the 1930s, they were bitter rivals in New York, the rulers of dueling international beauty empires that would forever change the way women thought about cosmetics, salons, and wrinkles. This riveting biography brings these two celebrated women to life, revealing the ruthless drive and innovative business strategies that took each to the top. Along the way, it offers an intriguing look at their personal idiosyncrasies (Rubinstein collected art, Arden racehorses), their checkered marriages, and the rarefied social milieu in which they both traveled.

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From the Publisher :

"The amount of research and meticulous personal data in [your] book is really quite remarkable and compelling. It provides a wealth of information from which to draw wonderfully three-dimensional characters and humanizes this iconic twosome."–Raquel Welch

"I have seldom enjoyed a book so much as WAR PAINT. The research is staggering - I loved all the detail about society and the arts in Paris, New York and London that so beautifully set our two heroines in context during such a long span of years - well done - it was a wonderful read. Thank you for so much enjoyment."–Lulu Guinness

From the Inside Flap :

Bold, brilliant, and utterly ruthless, Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden spawned the modern beauty industry and forever changed the way women think about cosmetics, salons, and wrinkles. Along the way, they rubbed elbows with many of the greats in the worlds of the arts and fashion and helped launch several brilliant careers. Yet, other than official press releases and autobiographical accounts that tend to be more fluff than fact, little has been written about the two. Now, nearly forty years after their deaths, War Paint goes behind the gloss and glamour to tell the riveting true story of these remarkable women and their epic achievements–and no less epic rivalry.

In the late nineteenth century, good girls didn’t want careers–and they certainly didn’t paint their faces. Business, like politics and every other field of serious endeavor, was considered inherently unsuited for a member of the fair sex. In War Paint, Lindy Woodhead reveals how two unlikely young women, Chaja Rubinstein and Florence Nightingale Graham, both born into poverty–one in the Krakow Ghetto, the other in rural Canada–and lacking any formal education, defied nineteenth-century notions of class and gender and went on to become two of the twentieth century’s most powerful business tycoons.

A story of unquenchable ambition and unbendable wills, of bitchy turf wars and grand obsessions, and, above all, of true business genius, War Paint reveals how "Madame" and "Miss Arden" (or "that woman!" and "the other one," as each was known to the other, respectively) transformed the piddling toiletries trade of the 1890s into today’s insatiable, multibillion-dollar market for dreams in creams–and how, in the process, they pioneered modern advertising, product packaging, consumer public relations, and direct marketing.

From the Montparnasse of Hemingway and Picasso and the Greenwich Village of E. E. Cummings and Djuna Barnes to the ballrooms and boardrooms of New York, Paris, and London, War Paint weaves a vivid tapestry of intersecting lives and warring ambitions in the early decades of the twentieth century.

An engrossing dual biography set against the grand sweep of two world wars and the birth of the modern consumer culture, War Paint is at once a master stroke of scholarship and a good, old-fashioned, juicy tell-all about the supremely talented, deeply flawed doyennes of the modern culture of beauty.

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Woodhead, Lindy
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