Monday, September 16, 2019

Before Maybelline there was Lash-Brow-Ine.


"Before and After" ad for Lash-Brow-Ine, 1915.
 In 1915, women were just starting to accept cosmetics again, after avoiding them during the Victorian era. Creams and powders prevailed on the market; however, eye make-up remained all but taboo.  In England, social constraints against cosmetics, including lash color, persisted well into the Victorian age, though business was brisk in back-alley beauty services. 

Proper English ladies of the nineteenth century considered make–up to be off-limits, the province of prostitutes whose penchant for cosmetics earned them the label “painted women.”  Viewed as appropriate only for prostitutes and music-hall performers, make-up was so forbidden in Victorian society a man could divorce his wife for wearing it.

Directions inside a box of Lash-Brow-Ine, 1915.

While the American colonies were under British rule, the use of white powder, rouge and lipstick was brisk. After the revolution, cosmetics became political. For example, an unpainted face was a sign of a good Republican. Women were expected to pinch their cheeks and bite their lips if they hoped to brighten their faces. Men enjoyed greater leeway. They could and did, dye and condition their hair, mustaches and sideburns, often with a touch-up dye for graying hair called Mascaro, from which Tom Later derived the word mascara.

Yet, the onset of the silent movies in the early 1900’s was changing the way society viewed cosmetics, as alluring actresses such as Theda Bara and other screen stars glamorized the painted look once associated with prostitution.

Theda Bara as Cleopatra, in 1917
Women began to enter the work force and began to build independent lives for themselves, making fashion and beauty a bit more robust.  At the same time, women were beginning to organize for their political rights, holding suffragist rallies for right to vote. In New York in 1913, more than one parade of Suffragettes marched down Fifth Avenue past a salon owned by a woman named Elizabeth Arden.  Arden in New York, along with Helena Rubinstein in England, opened the first beauty salons in the cosmetics business, specializing solely in skin products.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Maybelline's Success Story up until now was a lost thread in the American Fabric.

Maybelline - The Wonder Company of the 20th Century.

Tom Lyle Williams at 19 years of age in 1915.
By 1929 Tom Lyle Williams was spending $200,000 a year in advertising, with Maybelline ads appearing in forty popular magazines as well as Sunday newspaper supplements and specialized journals such as Theatre and Photoplay. Between 1915 and 1929, he’d spent over a million dollars to advertise Maybelline. His little eye beautifier now had wide distribution in the United States and Canada.  Everywhere you went, close-up photos of eyes darkened with Maybelline projected a provocative--but no longer sinful--eroticism.

Tom Lyle Williams in 1929,
from an article in a trade magazine.
In fact Tom Lyle had just launched his 1929 “Springtime is Maybelline Time!” campaign, featuring an idealized lovely young miss looking up adoringly at her man through starry eyes. The offers to vendors pitched display cartons, each holding a half-dozen eye makeup containers, and urged druggists to try product placement by the soda fountain, “forcing extra sales.” Tom Lyle felt that the ad would assure continued prosperity for the company, meaning he could afford to leave Maybelline in the hands of his brother Noel while he and Emery headed out to California for a few days.

On October 29, 1929, a news flash announced that the Dow industrial average had fallen almost twenty-three percent, and the stock market had lost a total of sixteen billion dollars in value in a month. Sixteen billion dollars.

Tom Lyle knew the stock market crash would be devastating for the country in general, and would certainly ruin many companies. Although Maybelline, as a family-owned business, was not directly affected by the Wall Street disaster, there was no question that the aftermath would be devastating. Who would choose to buy eye cosmetics over food for the family?

The prosperity and opulence of the Roaring Twenties were gone, disappearing along with the vamps who had loaded up with Maybelline’s seventy-five-cent product. In order to keep his company alive in the years to come, Tom Lyle knew he would have to find ways to keep his product in the public eye, yet at a price women could afford. The flashy, flapper look was quickly devolving to a more demure look fit for austere times.

Despite the national situation, he felt good about the future. In fact, when Noel showed him a story in The Wall Street Journal about a brand-new skyscraper being constructed over the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York--the Empire State Building, the tallest structure in the world--Tom Lyle took it as a sign that the bad economy would be only a temporary dip in the road.

He was rarely so wrong. When Emery suggested an ad tie-in to the Empire State Building--Things Are Looking Up, featuring young women with gorgeous eyes gazing up at a new skyscraper--Tom Lyle backed it enthusiastically...until it became clear that for most of the country, things were looking very much down. They abandoned the new ad campaign as the market continued to decline, wages plummeted, and credit dried up. When industrial production also collapsed, many businesses went with it.

But not Maybelline. Although innovative and widespread advertising was responsible for a lot of the company's success over the years, it was not the whole story. So was constant innovation in the lab, and that spring, thanks to the introduction of an improved waterproof eye makeup, total sales rose to $750,000--at a time when most businesses were struggling simply to keep their wallowing businesses afloat.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Old Hollywood Glamour at the Star Studded Premiere of... "All This and Heaven Too"

Tom Lyle Williams, Jane Allen, Emery Shaver, Annette Williams, Arnold Anderson, 1940 at the Villa Valentino.

Wednesday June 13, 1940

Excerpt from Jane Allen's diary while visiting her uncle at the Villa Valentino. 

This has been one grand day. Annette and I were up at a quarter of ten for an appointment at the hair dressers.

Emery picked us up in time for breakfast at one. At 4:14 we went toMax Factors for make-up. Glamour girls no less.

The big affair of attending the world premier of “All This and Heaven Too,” started about eight o'clock

when a limousine picked up Annette, Arnold, Emery, Tom Lyle and me, and drove over to get Emery's friend, Lona Woolsey.

The whole party were certainly dressed up, all the boys in tuxedos and the girls in formals.

The premiere was at Carthay Circle. The crowds simply jammed the streets as we arrived. The police, both on foot and mounted, were trying to hold the people back, but each person was trying to get a glimpse of the Stars.

The limousine stopped to let us out amid hundreds of lights and lots of cameramen. An announcer with a microphone was in front to announce the different stars as they arrive. They stared at us too, but we fooled them. We were just ordinary people. The long pass way from the front to the entrance of the theater seemed miles, with thousands of people staring, hoping each would be a Star. The walkway was lined with large gorgeous bouquets of flowers. These I didn't see as I walked in because I was so excited and nervous. 

After we were inside the theater, we stood around to see as many stars as possible. We saw Jimmy Stewart with Olivia de Haviland,

Jeffry Lynn,

Andrea Leeds,

Ann Miller,

Preston Foster,

Stewart Erwin,

and Don Ameche.

After walking around for a while we went into the Theater. Carthay Circle Theater is not very large but very beautiful. Furnished without consideration for cost. Carpet was beautiful red velvet and gold curtains.

At intermission we were in the lobby again.

 Edgar Bergen,

Charles Boyer,

and more that I just can't remember now. The picture was very good. Was over about Twelve midnight. We had our long walk from the entrance to the driveway again, with lots of spectators looking for stars.

On our way out, we saw Gene Lockhart, 

Elsa Maxwell

and Hedda Hopper.

The announcer gave us a thrill calling Mr. TL Williams' car waiting. We were just like the big shots.

From Carthay Circle we drove to Ciros, the swankiest nightclub in Hollywood. Certainly couldn't have gotten into the place without reservations, as the club was jammed. Ciros is a beautiful place, very modern and very colorful.

Just as we entered we saw Robert Taylor,

Barbara Stanwick,

Jack Benny, Mary Livingston,

Edward Arnold and his wife,

Andrea Leeds and her husband,

Bette Davis and her party sat right next to our table. In fact her chair was bumped right up next to my chair.

Constance Bennett and her party was a table on the other side next to our table.

William Powell and his wife Diana Lewis, had a table behind us.

Across the way was Norma Shearer and her party.

Also saw Geraldine Fitzgerald,

George Jessel with his sixteen year old bride, Lois Andrew,

and Louise Fazenda.

 Most of the stars we saw at the Premiere were also at Circos. Never in my life have I ever seen, heard of or expected to attend such a gala affair It was the height of formality and considered the social occasion of the season in Hollywood. After several drinks, frosted daiquiris, we had something to eat and got home about 3:30 am. Believe our party was the last to leave Ciros. Don't think I ever enjoyed any activity so much in my life. The memory will be something to go over again and again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Maybelline Story - Sharrie Williams (Guest) Bridge City News

Interview with Bridge City News, Canada.  

Maybelline started as a little mail order business in the classified section of Movie magazines. Tom Lyle Williams a 19 year boy with a 10th grade education, was an advertising genius. His great niece, Sharrie Williams tells a bit of his story and the great success he became when his little cosmetic company  took off during the Silent Film Era.  

Saturday, August 24, 2019

1930's Maybelline ad painted by Zoë Mozert, the most famous female pin-up artist of her day

1930's Maybelline ad painted by Pin-Up artistZoe Mozart.

Zoe Mozart painted hundreds of magazine covers and movie posters during her career. Mozert frequently was her own model, using cameras or mirrors to capture the pose. Her paintings are best known for their pastel style and realistic depiction of women.


Daniel Vancas, pinup and glamour artist, art restorer, art publisher of 25 years. Paints in the style of Elvgren Vargas, Moral and Zoe Mozart.Vancas is an artist for commission work in his field of expertise.  He also owns branding and (c) on over 100 pinup and glamour art images. He has a large art archive of works as well.  Vancascan be commissioned for new works, or licensed existing works. He also have several other artist and photographers with whom he has working contracts and they often work together on projects. 

Daniel Vancas web site 
Jean Harlow painted by Zoe Mozert between 1933-1936
Zoe Mozert painting a Pin-Up Model in the 1940's.

Zoe Mozert Painting a reflection of herself in the mirror.

Zoe Mozert being painted in the nude by artist Ed Moran
Jane Russell in The OutlawPoster painted by Zoe Mozert.

Zoe Mozert's Maybelline ad would appear in a Movie magazine like this.....painted by the artist.

Past posts I've done featuring Zoe Mozert.

Perry Como singing "So I Love You So." featuring Pin-Up Girls painted by Zoe Mozert.