100 years of beauty in 11 pics

16 Dec


The Gibson Girl, with her luxurious, upswept hair was the ideal of this era. While she wouldn’t dream of wearing makeup, a game of lawn tennis—played by her in a middy blouse and grass-skimming skirt—might bring a natural flush to her cheeks.



Short hair defined the Roaring Twenties. Flappers like Clara Bow and Louise Brooks wore their shingled hair with scarlet red lips and heads capped by cloche hats over streamlined tubular silhouettes that ended at the knee.


The garçonne made way for the bias-dress-wearing siren in the thirties. The severity of the bob was softened by waves, and the perfectly lit silver-screen stars, with their perfectly matte complexions provided inspiration to women everywhere.


Lauren Bacall’s face-framing waves represented one variation of the era’s beauty ideal, while the look proved positively dangerous for Rosie the Riveter types who pulled their hair away from their face to work in factories during wartime. Woman worn tailored suits or feminine party frocks, to communicate strength and purpose.


The fifties ushered in more than a sinuous sweater line and the reign of the fit-and-flare silhouette (first introduced by Christian Dior’s New Look in 1947). It also established an idealized, formal ideal of womanhood that demanded arched-brow perfection and a perfectly drawn lip.


Youthquake divided the decade, which progressed from helmet-like bouffants to hippie hair. As the decade wore on, makeup became a means of artistic expression. Pale lips contrasted with a dramatic eye and eyelashes reached unparalleled lengths.


Ushering in a more expansive definition of beauty, American model Beverly Johnson became the magazine’s first black cover star in 1974. When it came to hair and makeup, the decade’s most famous faces preferred artfully sculpted cheeks and frosted eye shadow.


The eighties just screamed “more, more, more.” Big hair and shoulders formed the top of an inverted triangle silhouette that exposed perfectly trained legs. Trained  bodies and healthy complexions came in shades of terracotta, as embodied by supermodel Cindy Crawford, whose full brows and trademark mole would become her signature.


Grunge defined the nineties, the era in which supermodels ceded ground to Kate Moss.. A natural documentary-style unpolished beauty was beauty’s idea of nirvana.


The best way to play up a perfectly sculpted body? With subtle, perfectionist beauty touches. Flat-ironed hair, fresh skin, and a new kind of clipped down ease ruled with celebrities and models like Liya Kebede.


In a world when everything and anything is directly available on Instagram, the faces that stand out are those with distinction, like Joan Small’s chiseled cheekbones, Cara Delevingne’s solid brows, and the symmetry of Kendall Jenner’s dark, harmonious, “Goya”-like good looks.

I think this insight in the history of beauty over the years, will show how beauty has changed. Every decade has its own characteristics and its own personality. But does that mean that, for instance, the look of the twenties is out of sight? Of course not. Small parts of these looks our mothers and grandmothers used to wear, will make its return in the fashion industry. So, we could talk about the history of fashion, but it also might be the future of fashion back again.




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