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August 30 2014

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On Makeup, And Makeup Bags

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The lure of burlesque beauty has long fascinated Liz Goldwyn. The cinema scion essentially wrote the book on it; her 2006 tome, Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens, and the subsequent film project of the same name, encompassed eight years of research on the subject. But this weekend in L.A., Goldwyn diverged slightly from her original muse. “This is the first taste of a new work that I’ve spent as much time on,” a chartreuse-satin-clad Goldwyn said on Saturday at an interactive installation that served as the premiere of The Painted Lady. Shot six years ago, the vignette stars 19-year-old actress Jena Malone and is part of a larger project about the history of prostitution, although Goldwyn was quick to point out that the film’s title has multiple meanings. “Actresses were women of ill repute back in the day,” she explained, “and they had to be made up under the artificial stage light”—a practice that she was exposed to at an early age. “When I was really little, my dad [Samuel Goldwyn, Jr.] was producing the Academy Awards, and Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor were both presenting, and I remember him taking me during rehearsals to meet these two women in front of these beautiful vanities, and they were each scooping up pancake makeup with their own hands and applying it,” she recalls.

A makeup lover in her own right—it’s rare to see the auburn-haired artist without her signature red pout—the film is just one part of Goldwyn’s tribute to Hollywood’s golden era. “I designed the whole collection around this hanging cosmetic bag,” she explained of the boudoir-inspired lineup of holiday accessories she has created for MAC, who sponsored the event. In a nod toward authenticity, the devotee of the brand’s Lipstick in Lady Danger and So Chaud made sure that her sketches, and even the lace that was used in the design process, referenced her own extensive collection of 1950s lingerie. “I wanted [them] to have the feel of something you would have in your underwear drawer,” she said of the leopard and lace pouches, which happen to function just as well—if not better—hanging in your bathroom.

Photo: Donato Sardella/WireImage

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