The captivating story of the first global cosmetics empire, the fascinating woman who built it, and the past she preferred to leave behind
This meticulously researched and wryly entertaining portrait of Helena Rubinstein (1872-1965) focuses on the years she spent in Australia as a young woman, recovering a 'lost' chapter in the grand narrative of the woman who created one of the first global cosmetics corporations. At its height, Rubinstein's brand was synonymous with elegance and employed 30,000 women around the world.
Rubinstein arrived in Australia from Poland when she was twenty-three years old. She lived in Australia for the next eleven years, working first as a governess and then as a waitress, before opening her first beauty salon in Melbourne.
In later years, owing to the degree of control she exercised over her glamorous image, many details of her early life in Australia were suppressed. But the events she airbrushed out of her own myth reveal the surprising origins of her extraordinary rise. In this absorbing book, we see her laying the foundations for a global empire.
'An unforgettable portrait of a four-foot ten-inch female Jewish business genius/dynamo. Apart from admiring the extraordinary scholarship, I chuckled at many points at the dry humour - concerning, for example, the mysterious doctor working with raw materials found only in the Carpathian Mountains. The author is also an excellent art and fashion critic.' -Robert Manne