Chapter 13: Return to Europe

The start of the 1950s was marked by the Korean War. Faced with the political instability and a gloomy atmosphere, Helena Rubinstein decided to return to Europe to refresh her ideas, find new inspiration and support young Italian artists. From Paris, Vienna, Zurich and Rome, Madame traveled across the continent like an adventuress!

Parisian life

After the war, Paris slowly picked itself back up. To forget the previous difficult years, stylists reworked their creations, looking for new and different things. A fan of luxury clothing, Madame used the opportunity to shop at her favorite boutiques Christian Dior and Hermès. But the entrepreneur did not forget about the business side: she regularly visited her beauty institute on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Patrick O'Higgins, her loyal secretary, followed Madame's fast-paced life, and created a new slogan: "Helena Rubinstein, la fondatrice de la science et de la beauté" (Helena Rubinstein, founder of science and beauty)

Society luncheons came one after the other, either at Madame's home or the Castiglione hotel. Among the guests were the Paris smart set: Irène Brin, representative of Harper's Bazaar in Rome, the Baron Elie de Rothschild, and even the writer André Malraux.

A detour via Vienna

Helena Rubinstein then went to Vienna for a press conference. During the trip, she met her friend, an Austrian countess who was behind the creation of waterproof mascara. In 1958, the avant-garde Madame produced Mascaramatic. The case was replaced by a steel tube in order to maintain the mascara's fluidity. It was a revolutionary invention that other brands rushed to copy.

Before continuing on to Rome, Helena stopped in Zurich where she bought land to construct a new factory.

An artistic escape to Rome

Having arrived in the Eternal City, Helena Rubinstein accepted a charity project run by Irène Brin and her husband Gasparo del Corso. Both saw that she had the potential to be a Renaissance art benefactor. Thanks to Madame, the exhibition "Twenty imaginary scenes of American life seen by twenty young Italian artists" was shown at the Obelisco gallery in 1953. A visionary at heart, Helena was right: the paintings quickly made it into the pages of magazines and art reviews.

Always a friend to artists, Helena Rubinstein was awarded the "Stella della solidarietà" (star of solidarity) by the Italian government.

tag : Pioneer
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