He created a new hair color for actress Jean Harlow
that was called, along with the movie, Platinum Blonde.
It was a startling success for a product so nondescript. Bland in color and subtle in effect, foundation is the most prosaic part of a made-up face, and the most prosaic part of making up. There is no glamour or allure in a bottle of beige liquid. And yet, if the product itself is unassuming, the name Pan-Cake Make-Up signaled otherwise. Powder had been variously termed “enamel” or “maquillage,” while “paint” was used with the implication that makeup was immoral. “Cosmetic” was traditionally reserved for face creams and lotions, but was increasingly adopted in the early twentieth century to make face paint seem more socially acceptable. Guided by his sons’ advice, Factor rejected all of these options and instead chose make-up—a word that, like costume or prop, squarely belonged to theater and film. If not with its formula, with its name Pan-Cake Make-Up frankly declared its artifice, and in doing so, evoked the prescient words of Charles Baudelaire, written some seventy years earlier: “Maquillage has no need to hide itself or shrink from being suspected; on the contrary, let it display itself, at least if it does so with frankness and honesty.” With its playful ring, Pan-Cake Make-Up offered a bit of make-believe to everyday life. Indeed, the product signaled that the distinction between real life and the silver screen—between dressing up for the camera and simply dressing up—was swiftly eroding.I also enjoyed learning why early movie chimpanzees wore camouflaged pants.
Read it: Making Up Hollywood, Cabinet Magazine>>