Powder and lipstick
Up to 20-ies of XX century to use cosmetics – Powder and lipstick was considered bad taste, worthy only ladies of the demimonde. In the 20s the situation changed radically. Cosmetics has become a fashionable attribute. The first compact powder was imported into Europe from the United States. The novelty was quickly appreciated and the production began in France, where the powder often wore the name of major perfume houses such as Coty Houbigant. In the 30-40s of the XX century, designer Line Vautrin used bronze, creating packaging for powder which looked like jewelry. Powder boxes took an infinite variety of forms, bearing the reflection of the talent of the master. Sometimes the body depicted puzzles or poetic quotations, not devoid of humor.
An essential subject on the table for the secular ladies of the XVIII-XIX centuries was a powder box. The best was considered rice powder. Powders were expensive and there were all sorts of colors and shades – from white to pink, golden spotted, fawn. Fashionable considered scented powder – orange, violet, rose, jasmine. Abundantly powdered not only the face, but hair, shoulders, arms, back.
Art Deco Compact Powder by company Tiffany, 1920-30s, silver, diamonds, lapis lazuli. Deco dominated in the design of everyday objects. This style loved geometric motifs, exotic materials, and new industrial – chromium, nickel.
After World War I the cosmetic industry is developing rapidly. Pale powdered face, bright red lips and eyes, accentuated by thick black pencil strokes were at the height of fashion.
Cases for cosmetics including compartments for powder and lipstick, a mirror and a comb of tortoise shell or ivory, were always present in the purse of fashionista.
Early powder and lipstick cases consisted of a small round or rectangular compacts, suspended from the ring on a chain of gourmet and lipstick cases of the same design. Later they were produced in the form of rectangular boxes, for which Van Cleef and Arpels patented the name “minoder” (“cosmetic”).
Powder and lipstick cases were made of gold, silver, white metal alloys or non-ferrous metals with gold and decorated fluted patterns in geometric style: concentric rectangles, strips, zigzags, hexagons, and the latch stressed gems. Large rectangular surface covers were used for the application of fancy jewellery. They were covered with bright colored enamel and lacquer, decorated with semi-precious and geometric motifs in oriental style: Persian designs, Chinese pagodas, clouds – symbols of long life, the Japanese bonsai trees, abstractions, and Chinese landscape with polychrome enamel and inlaid with mother of pearl and semi-precious stones. On the covers of cosmetic bags often appeared the original Chinese plate of the XVIII century: lacquer, mother of pearl or ornamental stone.
Lipstick – conquest of the XX century. Appearing one day, it had never left the stage. Jewelers converted lipstick cases into original works of art made of precious metals and stones, and the mass production offered plastic lipstick holders, creating incredible variety of forms: buildings, birds, and bottles.
Lipstick by the company Guerlain, France. Even in 1828 the doctor and chemist Pierre Francois Pascal Guerlain opened a shop in Paris for the sale of powder and perfume of his own production. It was the beginning of the world famous company.
Powder and lipstick (Sources):
Encyclopedia Avanta+, 2005. The History of things (scanned images)
Jewellery Art (Russian) Illustrated guide to jewelry. Publisher ART SPRING, published in Russian, 2005