Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Helena Rubinstein: Genius Entrepreneur

Beauty is Power
and Power is Beautiful
This week we visited the Jewish Museum, accompanied by friend Elke Kuhn, to see the splendid exhibit, "Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power."

Born in Poland in 1872, Helena Rubinstein formed a cosmetics empire with salons in New York, London and Paris. Her story is remarkable, because she really was a genius who was ahead of her time. At the turn of the century, "painting" the face was only for actresses and prostitutes.

But Helena knew that every woman wants to look beautiful and young -- and her products served that purpose and more.
Elke and I pose at the door to the exhibit.
I am wearing a Lola hat, my Monica Byrne vest and
pants by Henrik Vibskov.
Elke is wearing a Marimekko dress and a 
Patricia Underwood straw hat.
 Helena Rubinstein was a consummate marketer
and understood her clients implicitly.
The exhibit consisted of portraits of Rubinstein,
her collection of paintings, sculpture and African objects,
and photographs and memorabilia from her life.
 An advertising booklet.
She elevated beauty to an elegant experience
to be coveted by females everywhere.
 Helena Rubinstein was an art collector and
wore magnificent clothes by the likes of  Poiret and Balenciaga.
Here a model wears a Balenciaga dress while
posing in front of a Miro painting.
 A painting by the surrealist, Leonor Fini, in
the Helena Rubinstein's collection.
She favored female artists who portrayed
exquisite beauty.
She particularly admired Frida Kahlo.
Helena and Frida were so different, and yet so
alike in their fierce determination.
 Helena Rubinstein with one of her African sculptures.
A beautiful portrait of Rubinstein by the French artist,
Marie Laurencin.
The exhibit included a whole wall of portraits of Helena.
 Elke displays a makeup case in the museum shop.
 The museum shop's two enchanting sales associates, 
Barbara and Ariana, 
admire Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style book.
They recognized me from my pictures in the book.
Elke and I peruse a giant book:
Helena Rubinstein - Over the Top
by Suzanne Slesin.
 It was a glorious early Spring afternoon on 5th Avenue.
After the museum, we went to Bemelmans Bar
 in The Carlyle Hotel.
Ludwig Bemelmans is best known for his Madeleine books.

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-
The smallest one was Madeline.”
Portrait of pianist, Bobby Short, at The Carlyle.
 A lounge at The Carlyle.
 Harbinger's of Spring,
Pussy willows with a Daffodil-yellow settee.
 The magnificent entrance to The Carlyle.
 Our cheese plate from Murray's Cheese Shop,
and Malbec from Argentina.
 This is what we hope is over.
The piano in Bemelmans Bar.
Last year I attended an exhibit, 
"Madeleine in New York" at the
New York Historical Society.

Oh how glorious it is to live in New York City!

À Bientôt!


  1. I am so excited just to see the name Henrik Vibskov in this post! I love his styles and interviews I've seen of him. He's very inspiring as an artist.
    I think my first lipstick was from Helena Rubenstein. I remember buying it at the counter of a department store with one of my first paychecks. I felt so special. It must be glorious living there. Seattle is exciting but N.Y. would be thrills upon thrills!

  2. Joni,
    Thank you so much. I read and admire your blog, The Artful Closet, and your comments mean a lot to me. Please look me up if your artful travels bring you to NYC.

  3. The two of you spent a magical day together! I enjoyed every minute of your adventure. You are both stunning in your hats and colorful outfits. You made the experience of the Helena Rubenstein exhibit shine!


  4. Hello! I always enjoy the eye which you present in your posts, not sure if I have ever commented before though. I was just looking at the Humans of New York site and came across a young lady who,prompted the immediate thought "Femme et Fleur would probably be interested in this". So I thought I'd come and post a link here, I hope you don't mind, I just instantly thought there was a connection between two things that I as an observer have seen on the Internet.

  5. Hello Radostin
    It's amazing, but I did see this hony post, and I sent a message to this person. She said she would keep me posted on what she was doing. It's a beautiful picture. A girl and her hat -- sort of like the picture I took in the Luxembourg Gardens of a young woman with a hat that inspired my logo.
    Thank you for you comments for writing.