Sunday, March 6, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor, Max Factor, Hollywood Movies, and Maidenform Bras!

Prior to the 1950s, with a few exceptions, most Hollywood pictures were filmed in black and white. And being a film lover, I have no desire to see Bogart in anything but the original black and white version of Casablanca.

But when Technicolor began replacing black and white film, a huge impact was made on cosmetics. Even on the giant silver screens, the actors were illuminated with unblemished perfection in perfect color.

Because every average American woman had a desire to mirror that quality in their own appearance, makeup artist Max Factor developed an everyday version of the foundation makeup he used on the stars.

This new product, called “pancake,” was used to cover skin imperfections. At the same time he brought out a line of lipsticks and eye shadows.

Titanium was added to the recipe later in the 50s to tone down the brightness, resulting in lips with a pale, shimmering gleam. This concept was later extended to create frosted nail polishes in pink, silver, and a variety of other colors.

The 50s marked the introduction of “spectacles.” These were the name given to women’s eyeglasses that were frequently inlaid with diamante or covered with glitter. They had exaggerated wings on the outer corners that flared into the style of butterfly wings, or cat's eyes. The ones at the right look like Silly Putty.

The ponytail was a popular hairstyle in the 50s for younger girls. This eventually matured into the French Pleat. Among the older and more sophisticated crowd, the permanent wave was a popular style, made famous by Elizabeth Taylor.

The pointed pre-formed conically stitched bra was a popular fashion accessory of the 50s. Kind of like the bullet bumper of a '57 Buick.

But without one, the sweater girl just didn’t look right. And if you watch some of the videos from the 50s, you'll notice the dancing girls appear to be wearing similar accouterments. Yeah, it was all great fun, until someone lost an eye.

By the mid 1950s pointed toe shoes with heels up to 5 inches were a common sight. There is no doubt that the trademark of the fifties was the stiletto heeled shoe, first seen in 1952 at a Dior fashion show.

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