Online Exclusives

Beauty by the Book

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | February 12, 2010

L’Oréal has published an encompassing and lavish text that traces the origins of and the future of beauty, as well as the social issues surrounding it.

As the world’s largest beauty company, it seems only fitting that L’Oréal should tackle a subject as encompassing as the history of beauty.

In a project funded by the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation, the Paris-based beauty conglomerate has published “100,000 Years of Beauty,” a unique book that aims to share knowledge and encourage the emergence of new perspectives about beauty.

The research for the 1500-page book developed over a four-year period and included 300 authorities engaged in disciplines ranging from sociology to psychology to history to anthropology. Inside the five-volume, pyramid-stacked set are lavish photographs and engaging text that’s billed to be as entertaining as it is educational.

This comprehensive body of work—which will be used by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in its graduate degree program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management—was the basis for special panel discussion held in the school’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre on Feb. 3.

Speakers at the event included “100,000 Years of Beauty,” contributors Maxine Craig, associate professor of women and gender studies at the University of California-Davis, and Michael Bisson, professor and chair of the department of anthropology at McGill University in Montreal, as well as Elizabeth Azoulay, the book’s editorial director. Rounding out the panel was Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure. The discussion was lead by Stephan Kanlian, chairperson of FIT’s master’s degree program.
 
In her opening remarks, Béatrice Dautresme, executive vice president corporate communications and external affairs for L’Oréal and chief executive of the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation, provided insight into why L’Oreál embarked on the project. She noted that while some may see beauty as “superficial” it is, in actuality, cultural, psychological and controversial all at once. “It’s a deep and profoundly cultural and human subject,” Dautresme told the audience.

According to Dautresme, the project was in keeping with L’Oréal’s commitment to research and exploration.

One of the topics discussed at FIT included whether or not there is a universal definition of beauty and how the concept of beauty has evolved in a global context.

Making a comparison between beauty and language, Azoulay commented, “Everyone has the need to speak, but everyone speaks a different language—and the language evolves.”

The session also addressed the origins of beauty and its future. Using a definition of beauty as the need to transform the body, Bisson noted some of the earliest examples, such as use of pigments on the body, which date back thousands of years. On the flip side, Wells spoke of plastic surgery and the increasing role of science in modern beauty, suggesting that in many ways, it is replacing the “romantic” side of beauty.
 
The panel at FIT included (l-r): Maxine Craig (University of California-Davis) and Michael Bisson (McGill University), Elizabeth Azoulay, (editorial director), Linda Wells (editor-in-chief of Allure) and FIT’s Stephan Kanlian.
The brief discussion provided a glimpse into all five volumes of “100,000 Years of Beauty.” Volume 1 (Prehistory) features the origins of beauty in the earliest human societies; Volume 2 (Antiquity) examines the great changes that transform, from a sociological and psychological point of view, the pursuit of beauty; Volume 3 (Classical Age) explores the medieval and early modern periods as bringing about worldwide shifts in fashion and beauty; Volume 4 (Globalization) journeys through the modern era, which are marked by the age of the individual and the desire to achieve social equalities such as fighting against racism, claiming equal rights for women, and sexual liberation; and Volume 5 (The Future) looks at the the new digital age and alternative movements where beauty is a focus for cutting-edge medical and biotechnological research.

“100,000 Years of Beauty” is available at Amazon.com for $295 in English and French language versions.


blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event

  • Perceived Perfection

    Perceived Perfection

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    From primers to pressed powders, facial cosmetics help create the illusion of a flawless complexion.

  • Preserve & Serve

    Preserve & Serve

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Suppliers with innovative preservatives provide staying power for formulations.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    July 28, 2016
    Three-layered hair product from Lauder, palm oil extracts for wrinkle treatment and more in recently awarded patents.

  • Pushin’ the Cushion

    Pushin’ the Cushion

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 26, 2016
    AmorePacific, the creator of the cushion compact, continues to improve its unique product.

  • Cozy Makes a Splash

    Cozy Makes a Splash

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||July 25, 2016
    Expands reach in CVS and introduces new collection.

  • Senior Skin Care

    Senior Skin Care

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 19, 2016
    McCord Research and Product Quest Manufacturing roll out new hospital-grade skin care kits for seniors to use at home.

  • Naterra Expands Tree Hut Range

    Naterra Expands Tree Hut Range

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||July 18, 2016
    New ‘Bare’ collection is out now.

  • An Antioxidant Arsenal

    An Antioxidant Arsenal

    July 11, 2016
    BioRewind is Dermarché Labs' new anti-aging regimen that delivers broad-spectrum antioxidant protection against free radicals

  • Enter Éclair

    Enter Éclair

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 5, 2016
    A new naturals line rolls out in Rite Aid stores nationwide.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 30, 2016
    J&J's anti-aging patent, LVMH and cannabis essential oil, transdermal botulinum toxins and more in recent patent news.

  • Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    June 28, 2016
    Vote on the finalists in Happi's reader's choice Anti-Aging Product of the Year contest!

  • What

    What's Next for the UK?

    Sarah Boumphrey, Euromonitor International||June 27, 2016
    Euromonitor weighs in on how Brexit could impact consumer product companies.

  • The Future of Innovation

    The Future of Innovation

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||June 27, 2016
    Fashion Institute of Technology graduate students tackle a far-reaching topic for their Capstone project.

  • Henkel Grabs the Sun

    Henkel Grabs the Sun

    Ian Bell, Euromonitor International||June 24, 2016
    Euromonitor's Ian Bell on the impact the purchase will have on the US detergent industry.

  • To The Max

    To The Max

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||June 20, 2016
    Velvet 59 is on the rise at locations like Ricky’s NYC.

  • Problems for Preservatives

    Problems for Preservatives

    June 20, 2016
    David Steinberg details the issues surrounding this critical ingredient category.

  • You’re So Sensitive!

    You’re So Sensitive!

    June 13, 2016
    P&G teaches dermatologists a thing or two about common skin maladies—and some common household chores to boot!

  • Voyage to Better Skin

    Voyage to Better Skin

    June 13, 2016
    Skin Inc. rolls out new light-based device to US market.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 9, 2016
    Avon’s use of melicope extract, skin care with SPF and chicory root, microdermabrasion cream and more in recent patents.

  • What’s New at Bath & Body Works?

    What’s New at Bath & Body Works?

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||June 6, 2016
    Tropical scents are leading the way this season so far.

  • Exploring Green in Vegas

    Exploring Green in Vegas

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 6, 2016
    Cosmoprof North America sets the stage for brands dedicated to the growing and evolving eco-friendly beauty space.

  • We

    We're Surrounded!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 30, 2016
    Industry experts explain the important role that the skin microbiome plays in human health.

  • Luxury Re-Coded

    Luxury Re-Coded

    Nancy Jeffries, Online Editor||May 25, 2016
    Consumers have new expectations for beauty.

  • Big Business at Beiersdorf

    Big Business at Beiersdorf

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||May 23, 2016
    VP of marketing shares info on winning products and more.

  • Procter Reels in Doctors

    Procter Reels in Doctors

    May 16, 2016
    The Procter & Gamble stand was abuzz during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 13, 2016
    Be sure to contact the Bay Area Beauty Association.

  • Representatives Connect

    Representatives Connect

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||May 8, 2016
    Re:Beauty offers a new direct sales opportunity.