As Eugene Schueller laid the foundation of what would one day be a global beauty conglomerate, the world around him was on the cusp of radical change.
While a January 31, 1909, New York Times article carried the title “Feminine Mind Perplexed by the Question Whether Style in Gowns or Beauty Lends Most Distinction,” for instance, Emmeline Pankhurst and her following of suffragettes were making inroads into winning women’s right to vote. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in New York in the same year.
The world was also growing and shrinking. Borders expanded, thanks to Ernest Shackleton’s unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole in January and Robert Peary claiming to have reached the North Pole in April (a declaration later disputed). Meanwhile, Louis Blériot became the first man to fly across the English Channel. Alice Huyler Ramsey made a splash by being the fi rst woman to drive across the U.S., and construction began on the Titanic.
Advances also were being made in science and technology. Søren Peter Lauritz Sørensen introduced the pH scale measuring alkalinity and acidity, and Guglielmo Marconi and Karl Ferdinand Braun were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for their work on wireless telegraphy. In addition, Sweden’s Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf won the Nobel Prize for literature, the first woman to do so.
And firsts in culture didn’t stop there. Serge Diaghilev began the Ballets Russes as a means to create a platform for Russian dance in the West, and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum’s Aston Webb building was opened. Singer Carmen Miranda and actors Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. were born, the term “Cubism” was coined and Condé Nast took over Vogue magazine, all in 1909.
While Abraham Lincoln was making his debut on the U.S. penny, a flurry of retail activity was under way, including the opening of London’s Selfridges department store, Boston’s Filene’s Basement and Chicago-based Walgreens’ second drugstore.
On the world political stage, the Bosnian Crisis of 1908-09 created international prewar frictions. Belle Epoque belles, meanwhile, gingerly were experimenting with the luxurious fashions of the era. To create the characteristic “S-shape” Edwardian silhouette fashionable at the time, women wore constricting corsets to form cinched-in waistlines. At the same time, Parisian designer Paul Poiret introduced an avant-garde linear silhouette, which revealed the body’s natural curves and referenced classical Greek drapery. Also in 1909, Jeanne Lanvin joined the Syndicat de la Couture, and Coco Chanel opened a studio in Paris, where she started making hats.
Much like today, women agonized over how to maintain and improve their looks. An article from The New York Times dated January 10, 1909, entitled “A Message of Interest to All Women,” warned of the need to protect skin from the rigors of winter weather, for instance.
“One of the simple formulas used for many generations returns to favor every once in a while,” the article said. “It is made up of mutton tallow and lemon juice or glycerine. The best tallow is gotten from a reliable butcher, [dried] out on the stove, melted and mixed up with glycerine. When it cools, it is put aside in little jars or tin boxes and used every night through the winter.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)