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Helena Rubinstein - Helena Rubinstein

Polish-American businesswoman, art collector, and philanthropist
(1872-12-25) December 25, 1872
Died April 1, 1965 (1965-04-01) (age 92)
nationality polishing
other names Princess Gourielli , Mrs. Helena Rubinstein , Chaja Rubinstein
occupation Businesswoman, philanthropist, art collector, beautician
Known for Founder and namesake of the cosmetics company Helena Rubinstein Incorporated
(m. 1908; div. 1938)
Prince Artchil Gourielli-Tchkonia
(m. 1938; died 1956)

Helena Rubinstein (born Chaja Rubinstein ; December 25, 1872 - April 1, 1965) was a Polish-American businesswoman, art collector, and philanthropist. As a cosmetics entrepreneur, she was the founder and namesake of the cosmetics company Helena Rubinstein Incorporated that made her one of the richest women in the world.

Early life

Rubinstein was the eldest of eight daughters of Polish Jews, Augusta-Gitte (Gitel) Shaindel Rubinstein, née Silberfeld and Horace-Naftoli Hertz Rubinstein; He was a shop owner in Cracow, Lesser Poland, which was occupied by Austria-Hungary after the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century. The existentialist philosopher Martin Buber was her cousin. She was also the cousin of Ruth Rappaport's mother.

Move to Australia

After Rubinstein had refused an arranged marriage, he emigrated from Poland to Australia in 1896 without money and with little English. However, her stylish clothes and milky complexion did not go unnoticed by the ladies of the city, and she soon found enthusiastic buyers for the jars of beauty cream in her luggage. She discovered a market where she started making herself. A key ingredient in the cream, lanolin, was readily available.

Coleraine in the Western Victoria area, where her uncle was a shop owner, may have been a "terrible place", but it was home to about 75 million sheep, and they excreted copious amounts of lanolin. These sheep were the wealth of the nation and the western district of the great mob of merinos produced the finest wool in the country. To disguise the pungent smell of the lanolin, Rubinstein experimented with lavender, pine bark and water lilies.

Rubinstein had an argument with her uncle, but after a stint as a bush governess, the waitress started working in the conservatory tea rooms in Melbourne. There she found an admirer who was willing to raise the funds to introduce her Crème Valaze, allegedly with herbs imported "from the Carpathian Mountains". Costs ten pence and sells for six shillings. Known only as Helena to her clients, Rubinstein was soon able to afford to open a salon on fashionable Collins Street and sell glamor as a science to clients whose skin had been "diagnosed" and appropriate treatment "prescribed".

Next came Sydney, and within five years the Australian business was profitable enough to fund a Salon de Beauté Valaze in London. Rubinstein thus founded one of the world's first cosmetics companies. Her company proved extremely successful, and she later used her enormous wealth to support nonprofits in the fields of education, arts, and health.

Rubinstein quickly expanded their operations. In 1908, her sister Ceska took over running the Melbourne business, and with $ 100,000, Rubinstein moved to London and started an international business. (Women couldn't get bank loans at this point, so the money was theirs.)

Marriage and Children - London and Paris

In 1908 she married the Polish-born American journalist Edward William Titus in London. They had two sons, Roy Valentine Titus (London, December 12, 1909 - New York, June 18, 1989) and Horace Titus (London, April 23, 1912 - New York, May 18, 1958). They eventually moved to Paris, where she opened a salon in 1912. Her husband helped write the advertisement and started a small publishing house that published Lady Chatterley's lover and commissioned Samuel Putnam to translate the memoirs of the famous model Kiki.

Rubinstein hosted lavish dinner parties and became known for apocryphal jokes, for example when a drunken French ambassador Edith Sitwell and her brother Sachverell told Vitriol: "Vos ancêtres ont brûlé Jeanne d'Arc!" Rubinstein, who spoke little French, asked a guest what the ambassador had said. "He said, 'Your ancestors burned Joan of Arc.'" Rubinstein replied, "Well, someone had to do it."

Another fête , Marcel Proust asked her what make-up a Duchess could wear. She dismissed him unceremoniously because "he smelled of mothballs". Rubinstein later recalled, "How should I know he was going to be famous?"

Moved to the USA

When the First World War broke out, she and Titus moved to New York City, where they opened a beauty salon in 1915, the forerunner of a chain across the country. Helena opened the borderless American market and skillfully used it, despite the serious competitors and the face of Elizabeth Arden and Charles Revson. This marked the beginning of her vicious rivalry with another notable woman in the cosmetics industry, Elizabeth Arden. Both Rubinstein and Arden, who died within 18 months, were social climbers. Both were keenly aware of the effective marketing and luxurious packaging, the appeal of beauticians in decent uniforms, the value of celebrities, the perceived value of overpricing, and the advancement of the pseudoscience of skin care. The rivalry with Arden lasted all her life, they were too similar and approached the same goals in the same way. Rubinstein said of their rivals: "We could have ruled the world with their packaging and my product."

From 1917 Rubinstein took over the manufacture and wholesale of their products. The "Beauty Day" in the various salons was a great success. The alleged portrait of Rubinstein in their advertisements featured a middle-aged mannequin with a non-Jewish appearance.

In 1928 she sold the American business to Lehman Brothers for $ 7.3 million ($ 88 million in 2007). After the Great Depression broke out, she bought back the nearly worthless shares for less than $ 1 million, eventually increasing the company's value to $ 100 million. Salons and outlets have been set up in nearly a dozen US cities. That saga, and Rubinstein's early business career, was the subject of a recent Harvard Business School case. Her later spa at 715 Fifth Avenue included a restaurant, gym, and carpets by painter Joan Miró. She commissioned the artist Salvador Dalí to design a powder compact and a portrait of herself.

Divorce and remarriage

Freed from her previous vows, Helena willingly married Prince Artchil Gourielli-Tchkonia (sometimes spelled Courielli-Tchkonia; born in Georgia on February 18, 1895, died in New York City on November 21, 1955) in 1938, whose somewhat murky matrilineal claim is based on The Georgian Adel came from his birth as a member of the unnamed noble family Tchkonia in Guria and enticed the ambitious young man to appropriate the real title of his grandmother, the née Princess Gourielli.

Gourielli-Tchkonia was 23 years younger than Rubinstein. Hungry for a royal title, Rubinstein eagerly pursued handsome youth to name a male cosmetics line after their teen-cherished catch. Some have claimed the marriage was a marketing ploy, including Rubinstein's ability to pose as Helena Princess Gourielli.

Rubinstein took a packed lunch to work and was thrifty on many matters, but bought high-fashion clothes and valuable art and furniture. She founded the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv and in 1957 the Helena Rubinstein Traveling Art Scholarship in Australia. In 1953, she established the Helena Rubinstein Philanthropic Foundation to fund organizations specializing in health, medical research, and rehabilitation, as well as the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and grants for Israelis.

In 1959 Rubinstein represented the US cosmetics industry at the American National Exhibition in Moscow.

Called "Madame" by her employees, she avoided idle chatter, was active in the company all her life, including from her sick bed, and occupied the company with her relatives.

Death and legacy

Rubinstein died of natural causes on April 1, 1965 and was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Queens. A portion of her estate, including African and fine arts, Lucite furniture, and redesigned Victorian purple furniture, was auctioned in 1966 at the Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York City.

One of Rubinstein's numerous sayings was: "There are no ugly women, only lazy ones." Marie J. Clifford ( Winterthur portfolio , Vol. 38) examines a scholarly study of their exclusive beauty salons and how they blurred and influenced the conceptual boundaries of the time between fashion, art galleries, interior design and versions of modernism. A full-length documentary, The powder and the glory (2009) by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman, describes the rivalry between Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden.

In her book 'Ugly Beauty', Ruth Brandon described her methodology:

She was "the first self-made millionaire, an achievement she owed primarily to public relations. She knew how to advertise - using" fear copy with a little blah-blah "- and introduced the concept of" problematic "skin types She also pioneered the use of pseudoscience in marketing and donned a lab coat in many advertisements even though her only training was a two-month tour of European skin care facilities. She knew how to manipulate status anxiety among consumers, including: When a product initially stalled, it would raise the price to increase perceived value. "

In 1973 Helena Rubinstein, Inc. was sold to Colgate Palmolive and is now owned by L'Oréal. The takeover of L'Oreal was set to cause a lot of scandal, given that company founder Eugene Schueller was an avid employee during the war, and as a result, L'Oreal became notorious for employing ex-Nazis on the run. Jacques Correze, who carried out the takeover, was one of them: he had been actively involved in the expropriation of Jewish property in Paris.

It was mentioned in 1978 by the Austropop / comedy band Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung in their debut album in the song "Pustel Gunkel".

The Helena Rubinstein Portrait Prize, also known as the Boans - Helena Rubinstein Portrait Prize, was an annual £ 300 award for portrait painting by an Australian artist, awarded by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation (dissolved in 2011) and largely hosted at Claude Hotchin became a gallery in Western Australia.

The L'Oréal UNESCO Awards for Women in Science are also known as the Helena Rubinstein Women in Science Awards.

Established in 1953, the Helena Rubinstein Foundation was active until 2011 and ultimately distributed nearly $ 130 million over the course of six decades, primarily to educational, arts, and community organizations in New York City. The foundation was a long-time supporter of the children's program for the New York PBS subsidiary WNET.

From October 31, 2014 to March 22, 2015, the Jewish Museum in Manhattan hosted the exhibition "Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power", the first museum exhibition dedicated to Rubinstein.

Support for the arts

Erica McGilchrist received a one-time Rubinstein Wall Award in 1958 for her work at the University of Melbourne Women's College, and in 1958 received Frank Hodgkinson and 1960 Charles Blackman Helena Rubinstein Scholarship .

There was an annual for works by Australian artists Rubinstein Portrait Prize in Awarded an amount of £ 300. The 1960 award winners were Romola Clifton; William Boissevain 1961; Margaret Olley 1962; Vladas Meskenas 1963; Judy Cassab 1964 and 1965; Jack Carington Smith 1966.

In popular culture

The musical Was paint dramatizes her rivalry with competitor Elizabeth Arden. After a run at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, the show opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theater on April 6, 2017 and received four Tony Award nominations, including Best Actress for Patti LuPone's portrayal of Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole in the same category for hers Role as a rival, Arden.

The comedy Lip service by Australian playwright John Misto tells the life and career of Rubinstein and her rivalry with Elizabeth Arden and Revlon. Lip service was titled on April 26, 2017 at the Park Theater in London Madame Rubinstein premiered before opening at the Ensemble Theater in Sydney in August of that year.

See also


further reading

  • Alpern, Sara. "Helena Rubinstein", Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia , Jewish Publishing Society, 2007 ISBN 978-965-90937-0-0
  • Brandon, Ruth. "Ugly Beauty: Helena Rubinstein, L'Oreal and the Impure Story of Good Looking", Harpercollins, New York, 2011 ISBN 978-0-06-174040-4
  • Brody, Seymour (Author), Art Seiden (Illustrator) (1956). Jewish Heroes of America: 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism , Hollywood, Florida: Lifetime Books, 1996 ISBN 978-0-8119-0823-8
  • Clifford, Marie J. (2003). "Helena Rubinstein's beauty salons, fashion and modernist exhibition", Winterthur portfolio , vol. 38, pp. 83-108)
  • Fitoussi, Michèle. (2012) Helena Rubinstein: The woman who has the beauty HarperCollins Publishers, Sydney South, NSW ISBN 978-0-7322-9379-6 invented
  • Woodhead, Lindy. (2004). Was paint , London: Virago Press ISBN 978-1-84408-049-6

External links