Monday, January 16, 2012
Book Review: 'Classic Beauty' by Gabriela Hernandez
When a friend of mine recently posted a lukewarm video review of the book now no longer in print called 'Vintage Face'-I was thinking how great it would be to have a more successful book available, similar to Kevin Aucoin's 'Making Faces'- but for vintage purists. I had seen Gabriela's book on the website for her fabulous makeup line, Besame' Cosmetics. It appeared to be an interesting read so I obtained a copy and this is my review.
Not only is it an interesting read, but it's a GORGEOUS book and in my opinion, should be a 'must have' for coffee tables everywhere! A big, glamorous hard backed book with beautiful full colored photos, Classic Beauty walks you through the history of makeup in a very succinct and easy to read manner. Using time lines and gently formatted historical references, we learn about the earliest formulations of cosmetics and their usage as well as the evolution of the cosmetic industry with each passing decade.
The latter half of the book is especially well done, as it takes us through societal use of products from the 20's to the 2000's. Not only does it discuss application trends, but also we delve into the political and cinematic influences on these techniques. Popular colors for the decades are also discussed in adequate detail and each era is chock full of vintage ads and photos. I can easily see this portion of the book being a popular reference for my own use, in the years to come. The size and lay out make it very easy to find specifics about each decade quickly.
As for cons, there are very few. I do feel that the book is slightly disjointed in sections. There a few simple illustrations that seem strangely 'tacked on', as if photos couldn't be found and therefore these were an last ditch attempt to fill space. I found these unnecessary and they seem to interrupt the flow of the book. I also feel the middle sections on the development and evolution of mascara (and lipstick) seem slightly out of keeping with the rest of the book. I would have preferred that this portion, if included at all, be integrated within the other sections of the book instead of on its own. As it stands, the omission from this chapter of other makeup staples like eye shadow and foundation, seems a little more apparent and slightly puzzling. These are only small problems though, in an otherwise very successful effort.
All in all, this is an excellent book for vintage or makeup enthusiasts alike. I strongly recommend picking up a copy to add to your collection. The book sells for a rather high price of 49.95 on the Besame Cosmetics website, but includes the author's signature. Elsewhere the book averages 35.00 or so. It's easily worth that price.
My rating: 8/10-One for the shelf!