History that you can hold, smell and you can touch
May 15, 2011 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Lisa Eldridge, make-up artist and blogger met up with the historian Madeleine Marsh to discuss the history of cosmetics, which is also a history of women, society, and culture. The resulting videos are just fascinating, Part 1: Victorian Era to 1930s & Part 1: 1940s to 1970s.
(via Beauty is a sleeping cat)
posted by Fence (10 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for this! A little slow to start, but it got seriously fascinating.
posted by rednikki at 10:42 AM on May 15, 2011

Very cool. Their mutual enthusiasm for the subject really comes through.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:44 AM on May 15, 2011

I don't wear or care about makeup, but what a pleasure it is to see two people who are so interested in a subject appreciate it and contextualize it for the rest of us. Madeleine Marsh's intelligence and passion just shine through. Great find, Fence! Thank you.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:28 AM on May 15, 2011

I'm a guy and I found this very interesting. MonkeyToes is absolutely right: it's a treat to watch passionate people illuminate a specific topic from different perspectives. Make up, knitting, lots of indie music - I've come to appreciate a lot of stuff that I otherwise would never be aware of.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:22 PM on May 15, 2011

I love Lisa Eldridge, but I somehow managed to miss this video. Thanks!
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:47 PM on May 15, 2011

This is amazing, thank you!
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:47 PM on May 15, 2011

This is really neat.
A really interesting piece of work on a related topic touched on in the first video is Sarah Abrevaya Stein's "Plumes: ostrich feathers, Jews, and a lost world of global commerce" (Winner of the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature [30 page pdf preview]),
The thirst for exotic ornament among fashionable women in the metropoles of Europe and America prompted a bustling global trade in ostrich feathers that flourished from the 1880s until the First World War. When feathers fell out of fashion with consumers, the result was an economic catastrophe for many, a worldwide feather bust..

Ostrich feathers were valuable commodities at the beginning of the twentieth century, their value per pound almost equal to that of diamonds.
Ostrich feathers, it seemed, could be found wherever there were arbiters of style: a consignment of £20,000 worth of the plumes was lost during the sinking of the Titanic.
posted by infinite intimation at 3:54 PM on May 15, 2011

What an interesting find! Thanks Fence. A delightful, entertaining history lesson packed full of surprising anecdotes and amusing tidbits of information. Madeleine Marsh really knows her stuff and Lisa Eldridge's passionate curiosity make such a good combination.

Lisa Eldgridge, who put up the Beauty history videos, has an interesting YouTube channel in itself, lisaeldridgedotcom. I've never been that interested in make-up but these videos are mesmerizing, sort of an insider's look into an artist's palette or something. And the words used to describe the make-up are often food related, cherry, chocolate or sensual, so it's an alluring mix of the senses, artist, chef, sexy, playful and fashion.
posted by nickyskye at 5:19 PM on May 15, 2011

I watched this with a friend of mine who's into vintage-style makeup and we just loved it. Thanks!
posted by duvatney at 7:35 PM on May 15, 2011

You're welcome :)

It's strange, because I wouldn't say i have any great interest in make-up myself, but found these videos to be really entertaining and informative. I think it is because of the passion of the people involved.
posted by Fence at 10:40 AM on May 16, 2011

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