This engaging biography tells the story of Helena Rubinstein and her popular beauty brand, from her initial success in Australia (where she emigrated in 1902) to the international empire she left at her death in 1965. Rubinstein was among the first to popularize cosmetics for the average woman, and marketed not just her results but also the rigorous scientific testing that went into each product. Watching the brand bloom makes for a fascinating case study, but the true richness of the book comes from the vivid anecdotes of Rubinstein’s personal life. Fitoussi doesn’t hesitate to speculate about what must have been on her subject’s mind when, for example, she returned to her childhood home in Poland after founding her business. The early romance of her marriage to Edward Titus reads like a novel, while their later fights and reconciliations are depicted with empathy for both sides. The lively prose brings life to Rubinstein’s “impossible character,” tyrannical and tender by turns, and appeals to readers’ taste for scandal without turning its subject into a caricature. Photos. Agent: Kerry Glencorse, Susanna Lea Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/28/2014 Release date: 07/01/2014 Genre: Nonfiction
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