The Barnes & Noble Review
The bestselling author of Making Faces and everybody's best friend returns with another lavish makeup book. In Face Forward, Kevyn Aucoin employs all of his pals to show how makeup can give everyone a variety of different "faces."
This extravagant book stars talents such as Amy Sedaris and Mary J. Blige; glamour divas Elizabeth Hurley, Sharon Stone, and Madonna; as well as strivers Winona Ryder and Jewel. The "Everywoman" isn't neglected either. Aucoin's lush pages give attention to a Bergdorf's sales associate and his colleague's mother, proving beauty is not just for Hollywood.
Most fun in this book is the section entitled "Dimensions," wherein familiar faces are transformed into memorable visages from the past. There are quite a few extraordinary ones, and upon even closer inspection of these pages, one is still bewildered by Aucoin's dexterity with his makeup brush. Most notable of those transformations are: Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis; Amber Valetta as both Clark Gable and Carole Lombard; Martha Stewart as Veronica Lake; Gena Rowlands as Ava Gardner; Gwyneth Paltrow as James Dean; Gina Gershon as Sophia Loren; Hilary Swank as Raquel Welch; Sedaris as Angie Dickinson; and Alex Peruzzi as Linda Evangelista.
Read an Excerpt
By Kevyn Aucoin
Back Bay Books Copyright © 2000 Kevyn Aucoin
All right reserved.
Introduction I have a confession to make: My entire mission in life is to help women take over the world. Not by force (the route so many men have taken since the beginning of time), but with compassion, perseverance, and love. Don't get me wrong, there are some men in power who regard emotion not as a weakness but as a strength, and who view prejudice in any form as unacceptable. Nor do I fault men alone for the generally unhealthy state of our society. Both sexes have contributed equally. However, I do believe women have a greater capacity for championing diversity, and an unlimited threshold for understanding the human condition.
When I first moved to New York City in the early 1980s, the popular political ideology at the time was based on a fifties fantasy world that conservative elitists often refer to as the "good old days." Remember, this period was a time when blacks had no civil rights, women were expected to be housewives or mistresses, and other racial and religious minorities-including lesbians and gays-were completely invisible. The eighties conservative movement echoed the McCarthyist ideal of "us against them." Even beauty "authorities" got into the game of upholding separatism in the name of unity. Regardless of the intention, terms like "ethnic," "Latino," or "global" beauty (which were in reality just ways to categorize someone as third world) still only amounted to mere labels. In the nineties, the first heroic attempt at true inclusion began, but we still had to deal with individuals obsessed with keeping the system in place. Desperate souls, afraid of sharing power, used gossip, innuendo, meddling, and dishonesty to create an atmosphere of negativity and fear. Fear is the most debilitating emotion in the world, and it can keep you from ever truly knowing yourself and others-its adverse effects can no longer be overlooked or underestimated. Fear breeds hatred, and hatred has the power to destroy everything in its path.
While traveling around the world, I've had the opportunity to work, with every living beauty icon. I've learned to appreciate idiosyncrasy. The fact is, there is really no such thing as "normal"-everybody's, different, and that is the essence of their beauty. To forgive yourself your differences and cherish them instead is incredibly liberating. I Appreciating (even highlighting) individuality is one of the great things about makeup. However politically correct we've become, so much of our culture-whether it's the politicians, the media, or our own ethnic group-either overtly or covertly perpetuates the idea that different is bad, and that otherness is something to be feared. That fear breeds alienation and self-loathing, which isn't good for anyone. So if you cannot embrace the inevitability and beauty of a unified world, you may have to live out the remainder of your life in a cave atop some remote mountain. Remember, conservative means withholding and liberal means generosity. It's pretty self-explanatory.
To me, beauty is beauty, no matter to whom you are referring. In Face Forward, while I do address specific (and general) issues relating to facial structure, skin color, and skin texture, you will not see any single group of people separated and placed together under one banner. There are no segregated sections on Asians, blacks, Latinos, whites, seniors, teens, straights, or gays. (For that matter, you won't see any exclusive chapters on right-or left-wing beauty either!) The point is for anyone, no matter who, to be able to use every page in this book as a source of information and inspiration. No more class systems, no more types, no more barriers.
In this book I wanted to explore the entire range of beauty, including its past, present, and future. Tori Amos examines her Cherokee heritage as well as her Scottish roots; Lucy Liu goes from earth to wind to fire; Amber Valetta reveals her feminine and masculine sides; and Mary J. Bilge exposes her vulnerability first before taking off into outer space. The fun continues with Gwyneth Paltrow playing a glam gun moll and an unexpected fifties screen icon, while Julianne Moore's perfect facial symmetry melts seamlessly into an incarnation of sixties mod, then does a startling about-face that leads into the next horizon. From the cover, which represents the disintegration of racial lines, to its appreciation of all ages, races, sizes, and sexualities, to the concept that individuals have the right to alter their own bodies in any manner they see fit-whether in skin tone, facial features, or sexual identity-Face Forward is my idealized vision of a world of beauty that knows no boundaries and follows no rules.
They say that normally only 10 percent of the human brain is ever used. I believe this is often true of our hearts and spirits as well. Yet it is the free-spirited women and men whom we most admire and often envy-those individuals who dare to be themselves. As you read through this book get ready to hear a lot of praise. Everyone was chosen because of their hearts and souls, as well as their exteriors. These are people who are helping to change our social and emotional landscape. I believe that we are here on this planet to make the most of what we've got and who we are, and contribute to the world so it's a little bit better when we leave it. I'm not saying that putting on makeup will change the world or even your life, but it can be a first step in learning things about yourself you may never have discovered otherwise. At worst, you could make a big mess and have a good laugh. Well, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Take a chance, have some fun, and enjoy the rest of the book.
Excerpted from Face Forward by Kevyn Aucoin Copyright © 2000 by Kevyn Aucoin. Excerpted by permission.
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