California Dreaming

In the golden age of Hollywood celebrity, beauty companies were content to hitch themselves to the biggest star around and ride their gilded coattails all...

Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 04/11/2008

In the golden age of Hollywood celebrity, beauty companies were content to hitch themselves to the biggest star around and ride their gilded coattails all the way to the cash register. But as every A-, B- and C-lister signed up to front a fragrance, a skin cream or the newest mascara, the magical X factor often seemed to be missing. While sales of celebrity products have stabilized, the influence of Hollywood on the national beauty psyche hasn’t. Witness the all-encompassing coverage of the Oscars, with every single aspect of an actress’ appearance analyzed and deconstructed, right down to her diamanté hair clip.

This story first appeared in the April 11, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

While the hoi polloi look to Hollywood for beauty inspiration, Hollywood looks to the runway as a breeding ground for upcoming trends. This year, the Oscars neatly coincided with the fall 2008 ready-to-wear shows in Paris. While there were overarching similarities in the hair and makeup looks, the execution was thrillingly different. Take red lips for example, which, combined with an otherwise bare face, was a safe, solid choice on the red carpet this year. On the runway, however, lips were bright cherry red and supershiny—and were paired with an equally strong eye. Toned down, it’s a fresh look for any aspiring starlet. Discover more influential beauty trends from each side of the divide in “Opposites Attract” on page 29.

Most notable about this year’s Oscars (other than its sheer dreariness), was the fact that not one of the winners for best or supporting actor or actress was American. Two Brits, a French woman and a Spaniard took home the awards. Hollywood has gone global. This issue’s cover girl Abbie Cornish epitomizes the new breed of international actress in Tinseltown. Sure, she’s beautiful, with quintessential golden girl looks. But even more striking is her devotion to her craft and evasion of the glitzy trappings of stardom. Part of a coterie that includes rising stars like Brit Emily Blunt, Brazil’s Alice Braga and France’s Marion Cotillard, Cornish is conquering Hollywood on her own terms. Discover how in “Ray of Light” on page 36.

Of course, Hollywood isn’t the only birthplace of stardom. Vidya Balan, Delta Goodrem, Terri Kwan, these are all women on the verge of superstardom in their own countries (India, Australia and Taiwan, respectively) and who have as much clout with consumers as a global icon like Nicole Kidman. As reporter Molly Prior discovered, more and more beauty brands are tapping into regional celebrities to promote their wares in individual markets around the world. Olay, LVMH and others share their strategy in “Meet the Locals” on page 42. Then turn to “National Pride” for eight up-and-comers from around the world—all gorgeous and all (as of press time) without beauty contracts. With the worldwide mania for celebrity showing no signs of abating, though, that’s not likely to be the case for long.