Friday, September 30, 2011

Famous Faces of A Certain Age

Françoise Hardy
Until I do a post on women in their 50s next week, this will be a wrap for faces 60 and beyond (for a moment at least). I cannot thank you enough for the dialog. It's been a fantastic week.

I think we've said it all. The faces -- well done, over done or not touched by sharp, shiny instruments --  speak volumes as you have so eloquently pointed out in your comments. It's a conversation we should have from time to time. I hope you agree.

Barbara Walters
Sonia Rykiel
Tina Turner
Charlotte Rampling
I see myself that by observing these women throughout the week I'm having an important visual readjustment. It has become banal to say how we wish we could see women of a certain age portrayed without major photo shop work, but wouldn't it be refreshing to see the beauty of age?  (OK, with a little re-touching, after all even teenage model's "imperfections" are wiped away after fashion and beauty shoots.) But, do you suppose cosmetic companies re-touch Ines and Jane Fonda and Diane (Keaton) to such an extent because that's what they think we wish to see?

Jane Birkin

Sophia Loren
Goldie Hawn
Blythe Danner
Surely there is a major difference between aspirations and lies.

We can only assume they've done their marketing homework. Why isn't "better" good enough for a cosmetic product? No cream or lotion or gel is going to give us a neck lift, no matter what they say about "improving the oval."
Isabella Rossellini
Nathalie Baye
Recently French television has been advertising a product "guaranteed" to reduce hips, thighs, derrieres (you know, those hot spots) while we sleep (!) Of course I'm tempted, only because it would make a great blog post. Stay tuned, I just might.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Famous Faces of A Certain Age

Paloma Piccaso
A friend of mine has written a book about style and beauty, demonstrating, she believes, that the two create an empowering and intoxicating cocktail. It was briefly under consideration at a publishing house that has a reputation for buying feminist oriented manuscripts. Among the subjects the house publishes are books that give women "actionable" information and advice that will in some way help them improve and enrich their lives.
Lauren Hutton
Her book was turned down, though apparently seriously considered. The reason: Looking good is not a feminist issue.

I'm not here to discuss feminism. For me, the definition is simple -- not always attainable, but simple: Feminism is allowing a woman to make her own choices. She wants to work, she works and she is paid exactly the same wages as her male counterparts. She prefers to stay home; that's what she should do. She wants to have work done on her face (or not) again, her decision.

Toni Morrison
Betty Catroux
Donna Karan
Sonia Braga
As for other issues, my blog is not the platform. However, (you know chez moi there is almost always a "however") I ask you, where is the contradiction between having style and grace and being a feminist? What's wrong with savoring the joy of taking time to look the best we can? Does that somehow compromise principles we may hold? How is that possible?

One woman remarked yesterday that -- I'm paraphrasing, but she didn't sign her comment so I'm not too worried about exactitude, I've got the gist: Women have better things to do than obsess about their looks and spend time gazing into the mirror. It's too boring, she added.

OK, if you say so. I completely disagree.

I'm not talking about the sad cases of women who obsess to the point of distraction over their images, I'm talking about the pleasure, the confidence, the feeling of bien-être (well-being) that taking extra care to look our best can imbue in our lives. Frenchwomen know this, it's part of their culture, it's part of their raison d'être. It's partially what makes them so fascinating. I'm wondering, is anyone complaining or criticizing?
Dayle Haddon
Brigitte Bardot
Dominique Sanda
Gloria Steinem
As Jacqueline pointed out yesterday, broaden the issue, "Let's discuss what makes these women beautiful." Someone else said, "They are themselves with a vengeance." How great is that?

Tell me, where is the contradiction between style and substance?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More (!) Famous Faces. . .

Loulou de la Falaise
Sometimes best laid plans turn out to be better than one could anticipate. That appears to be what's happening this week with our gallery of beautiful faces of a certain age. All have been in their 60s and 70s with the notable exception of Betty White.

Julie Christie
Once again, I'll let the faces "speak" for themselves. I think we all agree that a woman should do (or not do) whatever makes her happy, feel good about herself, secure and confident. That said, I also think we are in accord on the sad fact that sometimes procedures go awry or women themselves demand more from their "interventionists" than they should.  It's usually dermatologists ( and, I'm told it always should be, not a doctor who has converted his or her practice into these lucrative practices) who perform the Botox and filler injections.
Jessye Norman
Anna Wintour
Vera Wang
Glenn Close  
(Love the earrings.)
We've seen the shocking results of both when a patient and her doctor go for an overdose.

I've often wondered what women see when they look at their reflection in a mirror after procedures. Do they see something we don't? Are they happy with the results? I somehow believe that many see hope smiling back at them and a glimpse of a past they somehow believe, because they were younger, was better than whatever the future can hold.

Martha Stewart

Barbara Hendricks
Mary McFadden
Shall we continue with the series? I have more to say and many, many more women to show you. Maybe it's a subject we should be discussing often, but you might like a little break this week? Let me know. Thank you for your suggestions btw, you can see I've included some here.

A non sequitur (I know you expect no less from me): When cosmetic companies are photo shopping women of a certain age and then telling us we can improve "the oval"of our faces with a cream, I think we have the right to be outraged.

I think we're not finished with this subject.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Famous Faces. . .

Jacqueline Bisset
of women in their 60s and 70s. And one, well into her 80s.

I see we're on a roll with this one. I'm enjoying the subject as much as you are, which brought me to the decision to plunge in once again and this time add my opinions on the subject.

Obviously there is no reason to point out which women unfortunately fell into the hands of a bad surgeon or a good one on an off day or she insisted on more than she should have. The evidence speaks for itself. In those cases I think it is so very sad to see one's face destroyed.

I have a friend in New York who had a facelift. The surgeon was one of the leaders of the pack in the city. They are/were friends socially. Prior to being wheeled into the operating theater he did the classic "line drawings" on her face to guide the procedure. She later found out it was not he, but one of his acolytes who followed the lines. Since that day she has not been able to completely close her eyes. When the wind blows down the city streets, tears pour down her cheeks.

Anouk Amiée
Diahann Carroll
Joanna Lumley

Marisa Berenson
It's probably next to impossible when one's face is her fortune, her career, her everything, not to try to "save" something from the past. Being beautiful may be a blessing, but it can also be a curse when one has built a life upon its ephemeral benefits. I'm sure we all know beauties who relied solely on that fleeting genetical "leg up" who have spiraled into despair when they see newer models taking their place.

A facade without a foundation is most definitely a slippery slope. I think every mother, father, aunt, grandfather, grandmother should tell little girls that beauty is the luck of the draw and, in their best interest and for all those they will meet and love throughout their lives they must be more than an empty shell. I believe girls should be encouraged to be kind, generous, educated, charming, thoughtful and principled. (I also think it's an excellent idea to have impeccable manners. There's a "leg up" if ever there was one. Boys too.)

Dame Maggie Smith
All of this is to say, I think women should do whatever makes them happy, empowered and confident, assuming they are not taking dangerous risks. But, surgery is always a risk. Personally, I have a neck fund I'm building. I'll leave the rest of my face in peace and see how things work out. I figure as long as they stay below the chin I should be safe. No question about it, Nora Ephron had a point, the black turtleneck solution has its benefits, but one cannot live in a black turtleneck every-single-day-for-the-rest-of-her-life, and at some point it will ultimately have to be unrolled up to the ear lobes. (I'm just being honest.)


Two more points -- and let the criticisms roll on in -- puffy eyes and beige teeth. We must smile to look young, so do what's necessary to keep them as white -- without being ridiculous -- as possible. Let me remind you, I am a reporter and sometime social commentator, in this instance I'm simply repeating something I witnessed. When working with models on photo shoots, a couple of them took diuretics before they came in. They appreciably reduce puffy eyes. (So does watching one's salt intake and at a later date I will delve into natural puffy eye remedies, but I've already written too much today.)

Kathleen Turner
Candice Bergen

Cybil Shepard
Barbara Hershey
A couple of other observations: weight watching, without being obsessive is important; hair color must be kind not harsh. Bottom line, let's once and forever decide we want to look the best we can for our ages in whatever way we define that goal.

Betty White. Don't you want to grow up to be like Betty?  (Or, maybe a Maggie Smith/Betty White combo?)
As one esthetician I interviewed pointed out, "You can't stop the train, but you can definitely make the ride as pleasant as possible."

Just keep smiling and smiling and smiling.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Famous Faces. . .

Fanny Ardant
of women in their 60s and 70s.

Diane Keaton
Diane von Furstenberg
Barbra Streisand
Dame Helen Mirren
Catherine Deneuve
Diane Sawyer
Meryl Streep
Perhaps one day, if I can breakthrough my shyness, I'll photograph beautiful women on the street. When I've tried in the past, most refuse. I don't understand why. For all of us, I'm sure, we would rather see them than the very familiar faces pictured here.

Dame Judi Danch
Jane Fonda
Carolina Herrera
It appears to me all but one has had work done, but, again in my opinion, it's all well done with the exception of one. (Probably there has been some post photo touch-up work performed in some cases as well.) When I set out to write this blog almost three years ago, I decided I would never talk about politics, religion and only a little bit about sex, my fourth tenant was to avoid unpleasant barbs, which is what I am doing right-this-minute -- avoiding them.  I do feel as if I must point out one detail however, notice the necks. . .

It's true, I break rule number four for clothes and shoes, but not for people or animals.

It seems "Diane" was a hot name in the 1940s.
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