Before Princess Luciana Pignatelli took her life in 2008, she left a beauty bible for the rest of us. In The Beautiful People’s Beauty Book, Luciana, the generous, is sharing beauty tricks and style advice from her friends, the rich, famous and beautiful people –Sophia Loren, Talitha Getty, Marella Agnelli– . It might be a misconception to think old beauty tricks belong to the past. I found most of them very relevant and efficient. Like the arts of seduction some rules never change.
Being resourceful and creative
For protection during midsummer when the sun is strongest, I try to keep my face in the shade. Last year in Sardinia, Where we all ended up nude on a deserted beach, I put my bikini on my face.
Less is more
Cosmetics can do wonders or wreak horrors, and one can spend years learning all the tricks only to discover that the less done the better. The point here is that simplicity is the result of knowledge, not the lack of it.
Work with what you have
Almost all of us have a defect to play up or hide. Makeup expert Gil, for example, adores both Sophia Loren and Twiggy precisely because he says everything is wrong with them –they have a thousand defects and the intelligence to make their own style.
From day to night
Carboni is aware that most of us cannot go around looking like portraits or paintings of creatures from Satyricon. He suggests a compromise: By day we look as conventionally attractive as possible; at night, without inhibitions, we unwrap our real face or create the face of our aspirations.
Kiss and Tell
Sophia Loren excels at all the tricks when she wants to. They include the instant eye enlargement and lift of surgical tape that pulls the skin up and back between the eye and ear, the tape caught and hidden under the hair. But off work at her villa in the country near Rome, she wears almost no cosmetics –a bit of black makeup for the eyes and a splash of “Joy” for the pleasure.
Have a good laugh at ourselves
The one thing I have to do, though the technique may vary, is my eyes. If I do not, it looks as if I forgot to bring them along. When my son, Diego, saw me once at the shore without eye makeup, he told me I looked just like a German nanny. My son, who has lost none of his candor since then, was ten at the time.
Vanity and wisdom
The forties will be rocky, but productive. You want to stay in shape, but exceptional beauty was never your forte. You opt for the strong face, the interesting face. It will not be “beautiful people”, but it could be Cartier-Bresson.
Desire never dies
I remember riding once in Virginia with a glorious woman who was past sixty. A two men went galloping by, tall in the saddle, with much dash and great panache, she said: ” The years may bring wisdom, but do you know, desire never dies.”
The woman gaze thing
“It’s the old story about the lady who had her breasts done and nobody cared,” says Gore Vidal. “Actually, women change their bodies not so much to attract men as to confound other women with their ability to show off clothes”
Style is an attitude
Last year, Talitha spent four months in the East and splurged on fabrics from Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, and Malaysia. One of them, a painting on cloth, was meant to be a wall hanging. “I hang it on me,” she says. “It’s like wearing the Balinese Bible. I’m going to do a room like that, too, in our new London house.”
E for Effortless
She [Marella Agnelli] almost never wears jewels, though she used to and could get away with enormous hunks that anyone else would be instant nouveau riche. On her, they looked casual.