Each week our no-holds-barred beauty blogger Grace Gold picks apart a hot topic beauty story. It’s our version of an op-ed…with lipstick, laser treatments, and eyeliner.
When you look back at the golden age of Hollywood, a trademark beauty look seemed as essential to the burgeoning of a screen legend as did the talent.
Louise Brooks' blunt bangs and burgundy lips not only personified the free-spirited flapper, but came to symbolize the decade of the roaring '20s. Then there was Veronica Lake with the flirtatious wave that slung sexily over one eye, and Billie Holiday with her signature white gardenia flower pinned over the left ear. And who can forget the "cool blonde" Grace Kelley? Her sculpted cheekbones and regal hair continue to influence brides so much today, that even Kate Middleton was said to have studied her photos before walking down the royal aisle. And this is all before Marilyn Monroe, whose tousled blonde curls, voluptuous red lips and lashes define the concept of a Hollywood icon more than anyone who's come before or after her.
Post-Marilyn, we were blessed with a lavender-eyed Elizabeth Taylor who showed us that something as simple as full eyebrows could be glamorous if arched with aplomb. And don't forget the teased, wind-swept tendrils and nude lips of Brigitte Bardot, or the flick of cat's eye liquid eyeliner that Sophia Loren perfected on movie screens across the world.
And yet, after decades of dames whose identities were defined by unique trademarks, we've seemingly had no more who have achieved comparable iconic beauty status. Sure, there have been the Madonna's and Angelina Jolie's; but while popular, they don't seem to stir the same feelings of inspiration, awe, and grandeur of previous leading ladies.
So why the dearth in beauty goddesses? Why do we continue to poster our walls with Marilyn, Audrey, and Liz instead of reaching for modern female inspiration?
I do think there's a glimmer of hope today. And it comes from a most unlikely place: a 24-year-old from South London whose voluptuous proportions reach beyond the size four de riguer of beauty icons past. Adele's cascading crown of 60s-like volume, plush lashes, and nude lips are quickly becoming her thing. And who could forget the Louboutin manicure she's sported repeatedly? Combine this with her deep-rooted talent and genuine authenticity, and she could be a modern beauty icon in the making.
If you study today's stars, the beauty lesson seems to preach equal parts open-mindedness and regular experimentation. But if you took a cue from the leading ladies of yesteryear, the savvier approach is to figure out what works best for you, and to stick with it.
Who are your favorite beauty icons?
Photo credit: Evening Standard/Stringer | Hulton Archive | Getty Images