MADAME: An Intimate Biography of Helena Rubinstein by Patrick O'Higgins

MADAME: An Intimate Biography of Helena Rubinstein

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What's the use of looking back"" -- her favorite maxim. ""I call it rotten. . . rubbish. . . zero."" ""I hate 'prestige.' That's an Arden word."" She was the ""Other One,"" and when Helena Rubinstein heard that one of Elizabeth Arden's fingers had been chewed off by a horse, she just asked ""Is the horse all right?"" Obviously, with or without the benefit of Mr. O'Higgins, her employee and surrogate son for fourteen years, Madame's biography writes itself. She was both a dynamo and a vise who started with twelve jars of Creme Valaze, a family formula, and built up the empire which supported her many houses, her 36-room triplex in New York with its second rate paintings by first rate painters (Picasso, also a friend, did her portrait), her jewels which she hid under her old girdles, her entertaining which included many luminaries -- the Sitwells, Dali, Colette, Lawrence and his ""pushy"" wife, etc. Sometimes looking like a ""greedy badger,"" peremptory, exploitative, visionary, outrageous, she's great fun to be with at this distance. She hoped the business she created would last 300 years and one wonders whether her Beauty Grains will be found in the sands of time. For now, enjoy this.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1971
Publisher: Viking