Women in Science: Hedy Lamarr

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I originally wrote this post two years ago, but recently I had been thinking about the Hedy Lamarr and wanted to do further research into her brilliant mind and life. Coincidentally “Hollywood’s Brightest Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” was aired on the same day I had thought about Hedy (with no knowledge that the documentary was going to be on) – so I have edited this post a little to add new information learnt about Hedy! – The documentary is fabulous, I suggest you all watch it.

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One of my most laughable facts is that my bachelor degree is a BSc – I’m a scientist. A philosophical one. I am secretly proud and smug about my title, mainly because I was terrible at science at school. Back in my final year of my undergrad (it feels so long ago now) I took a module named “Gender, Science and Knowledge”, a super interesting course which put the issue of ‘Women in Science’ at the forefront of discussion.

My thesis for my assessed essay surrounded the traditional concept of ‘rationality’ and knowledge and how, (wrongly) it was associated as an exclusive male trait – a concern as, sadly, it is often reiterated in present day.

Basically it all stems from Ancient Greece; Plato put forward a division between the higher mind and lower body. This was then taken to be a metaphor between the superiority of men and inferiority of women; with intellect corresponding with the masculine mind and the female body acting as a material, means to an end. In sum, women were viewed to not be capable of knowledge or reason as it was a ‘masculine’ domain. I know – ridiculous isn’t it!

In doing my research for this essay, I finally had the confidence to add a little bit of my own style to my essay – incorporating vintage, specifically an alternative perspective of Hollywood “glamour.”

There is no better ‘Woman in Science’ to talk about other than: Hedy Lamarr (Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, in Austria 1914)

You may recognise Hedy as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies in the 1930s and 40s. Her unique combination of features, the dark hair, pale skin and vibrant red lips became the inspiration for Disney’s Snow White and at age 18, and under her birth name, Hedy Kiesler, she starred in the controversial and erotic film Ecstasy (1933) – which was denounced by Pope Pius XII and banned in America and Germany.

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Hedy was considered as the “World’s most beautiful woman”; her stage name being nod to 1920s silent film star Barbara La Marr who was also known as “the girl who is too beautiful.”

Hedy’s physical beauty and her film appearances were what she was known for within the 20th century, an idea which reinstates the traditional concept of women being inferior, a material body, rather than the intellectual mind. It is obvious that Hedy was not enthused about her label of beauty, famously quoting “Any girl can be glamorous. All she has to do is stand still and look stupid.” Hollywood ‘beauty’ can be viewed as a means to an end, as Hedy’s successful acting career peaked in the 1940s with only minimal castings in the 1950s.

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You may be reading this post on a Wi-Fi connection, you may use Bluetooth and GPS on a daily basis – without Hedy Lamarr this may not be the case. Hedy’s alternative, and first passion was science; she was a phenomenal inventor, her curious and intellectual mind being well ahead of its time. When acting she also invented; she experimented with chemistry, creating a bouillion cube which formed a soft drink when mixed with water. She also developed ideas of rejuvenation, applying movements of an accordion to tighten and mould the face. Other inventions include elements within traffic lights.

However Hedy’s most prominent invention occurred in the early 1940s. During the war, and alongside her rising acting career, Hedy was secretly involved with the technological developments in the war effort. She worked alongside her friend and fellow inventor, George Antheil and the pair used their scientific knowledge to produce a particular signalling system: The Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. This system was to be used in the radios in torpedoes, aiming to interfere with the signals of the enemy – the same techniques used in wireless systems nowadays. Anthiel was a musical composer and utilised his pianist knowledge to change radio frequencies using piano keys while Hedy had gained knowledge of torpedoes from her ex-husband, Frizt Mandl.

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Although created and patented in 1942 the device wasn’t implemented until 1962, where it was used in naval ships in the Cold War. Various modern day articles about the invention state that Hedy’s involvement was not recognised until present day, yet the above extract from 1945 depicts Hedy’s explanation of her input to a public audience. Perhaps her involvement was overlooked, or the report within the newspaper manipulated with Hedy’s input being more than a creative consultant and on an equal standing to Antheil.

Hedy appeared to detach her life as an actress with her life as inventor, signing the system’s patent in her married name. (Hedy Markey) Perhaps this was for legal reasons, or to be taken more seriously. (Hher husband was a high ranking Naval Officer, creating a route of access for her invention to enter military ground) A further consideration, and the one I am inclined to agree with, was to remove further stereotypes, namely the typical Hollywood actress and her credit as the World’s most beautiful woman.

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Not only are women more than their physical beauty but the technology we use all day everyday and surrounded by constantly – was created by a woman.

Tradition is overturned and we should all strive to do what inspires us, ignoring stereotype. That may not be just one thing but various outlets – such as Hedy’s acting and her inventing!

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Outfit #3 Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Next up for my Breakfast at Tiffanys challenge is the party scene! This is probably one of my favourite outfits of the movie (bar a later one which involves a pretty orange coat, but we will get to that…)
The dress in this specific scene is very similar to the previous recreation of another black dress – however I wanted each outfit to be different. I had no other access to a black dress at the time but had a perfect white ballerina style which would look perfect at a party hosted by Holly Golightly…

 

The white dress is a Topshop dress which I have owned for a few years. The ballf2eca9fbc3d021786dad66de315dca6eerina style dress was popular in the 1960s, note the distant similarities to the wedding dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.
Although a longer dress and a fuller shape, it must be remembered that a wedding dress is obviously part of a more formal occasion, and therefore the traditional aspects of fashion and femininity where reflected in the event. By this I mean that dresses would be at a certain length, contrasting with the party in the film, which is an  informal social affair. This allows dresses to be shorter and more casual.
Additionally, ballerina dresses were popular as dress patterns prior to the 1960s.  The picture below this shows two covers to pattern sheets; the image to the right is of a 1960s addition, showing the ballerina style alongside more fitted and glamorous dress styles. In contrast, however not entirely different is a 1940s cover, again showing how the ballerina skirt is common of the time.
The outfit I am wearing is clearly not a direct recreation, however it carries a similar style in reflecting the event in question. For example the hair is not exactly the same. Instead of the twisted messy yet sophisticated look, I opted for a top knot bun, teasing part of my fringe into a little raised quiff, similar to the effect given by Holly’s twisted hair do.

 

I managed to find jewellery which are very similar to the necklace and earrings used. The blue and green earrings are from Accessorize and the necklace from Claires.  The earrings are probably my favourite thing about the whole of the outfit because of the art deco style and peacock colours reflecting in the light. Despite buying both pieces of jewellery from different places they compliment each other really well and could even pass as as a set!

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I did my make up as I normally would for both day to day and evening wear. I always opt for blush cheeks, pink lip and my trusty sleek eyebrow kit!

I hope you enjoyed! x

 

 

Vintage icon – Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra.

This post focuses on the historical beauty of Cleopatra.

Before I reveal the way I completed the signature look (albeit the Hollywood starlet version) I will outline some common myths about Cleopatra, and some historical context about Egyptian make up.

  • Most associate ‘Queen Cleopatra’ as being an Egyptian. This is incorrect, she was actually Greek. This all comes down to blood (as it all does in history). Despite her family actually living in Egypt for about 300 years, the Egyptians saw all the family as Greek as they are descendants from a General named Ptolemy, who, after the death of Alexander the Great, received Egypt after all of the Empire was split!

 

  • Cleopatra did not have long straight or, or a fringe. This one seems a little obvious but is an automatic visual appearance when representing Cleopatra as a figure. Rather the Egyptians were more likely to have shaved heads, with Cleopatra being viewed as wearing a wig of tight curls. This is evident on the emblem pressed which is believed to be a representation of Cleopatra. The real reason why Cleopatra was given a fringe in the 1963 was simply because it was in fashion.

 

  • Cleopatra was deemed as immoral, which is illustrated by a myth that she ‘dissolved a pearl in vinegar, or what they conceived as wine.’ This has been proved to be very false, and pearls are unable to dissolve in such a state. Additionally it is unclear what part of Cleopatra was immoral – one may believe she was beauty orientated and lavish spender. This can be objected to through evidence of her many welfare schemes – despite owning half of the land and being depicted as ‘lavish’ – Cleopatra was an extremely good, moral leader.

 

  • She was not beautiful, unlike another Egyptian Queen, Nerfertiti, who has been
    Believed to be Cleopatra

    depicted in various Egyptian art as consistently beautiful. Cleopatra, on the other hand, was considered to be a less of a beauty, which is evident in the coins printed with her side profile. This idea links into the previous ‘myth’ ab
    out Cleopatra being decadent. I believe there is a correlation between the two – perhaps if Cleopatra was believed to be a decadent and inhumane

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    character this would reflect upon the perception of her beauty. The Egyptians were very symbolic and precious about their aesthetics – whether Cleopatra was physically ‘beautiful’ or not this may depend upon the beauty of one’s soul…As this can never be proved, it remains open for debate!

 

I have been asked various times why and how the Egyptians were able to wear such fascinating styles of makeup, specifically the eyeliner worn by figures like Cleopatra. My first response was unknown, but then I took to research and realised just how intelligent the Egyptians were.

Eyeliner, for the Egyptians, was used to fight off optical infections – and this was through the lead salts in the mixture, also known as ‘Kohl’.  (ring any bells??)

Weirdly, the two forms of kohl were in green and black – not the blue as represented by Elizabeth Taylor. The fascination about kohl is that it was not directly available at the time – suggesting the Eygptians used their own chemistry in order to merge the components needed.

Perhaps a more important reason, rather than fighting off infection, that make up was so significant and widely used was because of the ‘holiness’ beauty brought to individuals. Even through death and ‘the afterlife’ individuals were buried and decipted in a wide array of colour and make up for religious purposes.  Egyptians were extremely symbolic and worshipped many Gods. This is shown by the variety of make up not just on the eyes.

For the facial make up they concocted their own version of foundation and highlighters, such as blusher. Cheeks were stained from coloured clay – ‘red ochre’ which was originally burnt to gain it’s pigment. This was also used for the red of the life.

Egyptians also had access to dye their hair, or wigs, as most individuals were bald. Henna was available as a natural plant, which dyed the hair and nails.

 

Over the years I’ve had many people saying I have ‘Liz Taylor’ eyes because of my eyeliner, but I’ve always denied it because, although my ‘liner’ has a flick, it’s nothing on par with the Cleopatra style.

I thought it would be fun to experiment with this make up style – although I vary my eyeliner shape and length I tend to stay away from block colour eyeshadow, normally sticking to natural light browns and pinks and a little gold.

I’m by no means a beauty blogger – I love make up but I’m not too interested in all the different brands, normally going for price over brand names. Also I probably apply make up totally wrong, (I have all these brushes, no idea what the different types are for) but I think this turned out okay.

The eyeshadow I used was:

  • No.7 : I used the first two shades, the white as a base and the pink for highlights
  • Avon’s own eyeshadow pallet: I fell in love with the purple/blue shades in this pack, and is perfect for the Cleopatra look.

 

Before I start on the eyes, I began by adding foundation in order to replicate the skin tone by Elizabeth in the role of Cleopatra.

I usually use BB cream by Rimmel as a base coat, followed by a little bit of liquid foundation. Currently I am using the Avon Ideal Flawless.

 

 

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I then applied the white shade of the No.7 eyeshadow all over the eyelid and dusting over the eyelashes. This helps to add more definition when both eyeliner and mascara are added (well I think so
anyway…)

Next, I began with the lightest shade of blue and brushed it over the eyelid, like basic eyeshadow.

 

I then filled in the gaps of the shadow, which added definition. I used the same shade again, and mixed it with another, a beautiful purple/blue shade. I normally define the eyelid ridge? socket? (I don’t know the name) mixing the two shades together. This gives it a even finish.

In doing this, I began to gradually cover the eye, with each stroke covering a higher space of the eye. In having the white eyeshadow base, it allowed the shadow to not appear harsh on the skin.

At this point I decided to ‘put my eyebrows on’. By this I use a brow wax kit – my one of choice is by Sleek. As everyone has different natural eyebrow shapes it is extrememly difficult to recreate Elizabeth Taylors, so I just neatened mine up. In darkening the eyebrows with the wax and brow shadow, it allowed the blue to stand out.

In having a define eyebrow end, I used it as a reference point for the edge of the eyeshadow, almost diagonally lining it up with the corner of the eye and the eyebrow. Similarly I then focused on the inner eyelid, and lined the eyeshadow up with the beginning of the eyebrow and the other corner of the eye, directly below.

 

 

The next part is probably the most tricky, as an outline is needed to construct the very horizontal eyeliner line. Before adding the liner, I decided to add the darkest shade of blue as a sort of guide for the eyeliner.

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I also began with the eyeliner from the inner eye, making a thin line over. I use eyeliner from Collection 2000, mainly because I find it has the best eyeliner wand.

I carefully applied eyeliner to the bottom lid, making sure it was even. I then matched the two lines in the corner, ready to add the signature ‘flick.’

In using the guide from the eyeshadow and the end of the brow line, I made a vertical brush stroke. If it looks okay, fill the line in.

The character of Cleopatra has a wide top to the eyeline flick, before narrowing into a straight line.

  As you can see, my line isn’t perfect and I probably need a lot more practice. But I think it has a slight resemblence?1

Even up/edit any line or shadow. Add mascara.

To be even more like Cleopatra I put my wig on, accompanied by a gold head dress!

 

Audrey’s Eyebrows

I’ve always been jealous of Audrey’s unique beauty; and I get annoyed in ‘Funny Face’ when her face gets called funny! Still, Funny Face is a brilliant film – you should watch it if your into films with musical numbers!

I thought I’d include a little segment in between outfits to show my own version of her look!

My favorite feature of her would have to be the eyebrows – they just shape her face so elegantly. I tried to recreate the shape of her eyebrows as best as I could – but as everyone’s natural eyebrow shape is different no one can be exactly the same!

In this tutorial, I use only two items. Eyebrow kit by Sleek – which includes the wax and powder. Benefit also do a good one; however the Sleek one is almost identical, and it saves a few pennies!

I also finish it off by using brown eyeshadow by Natural Collection. This gives the eyebrows a more natural colour, especially for me as my hair is quite red and need the right shade for my eyebrows to match!

My natural eyebrow shape are quite narrow – however I have quite prominent arches so I could get a good shape by following the natural line!

I began by using the wax to make a line where I will fill later! It felt really weird to make my eyebrows so wide – but I felt more comfortable as I began to fill the whole space with wax.

After carefully putting the wax within the space and on my real eyebrows, I then covered it with the Sleek eyeshadow. I noticed when comparing the two pictures together that my descending line was too vertical – as Audrey’s is more horizontal. I recovered it by making it into a nice flick, something different which I hadn’t tried before.

 I tided up the smudges using a cotton wool bud. I then used the eye shadow just to gloss over the eyebrows to merge the two shades to both my skin tone and hair colour. I felt alot better with this look as I added eyeliner, as my eyeliner wing looks nice and vintage below the eyebrow flick! I know Audrey didn’t always wear eyeliner with a flick but this is my kind of trademark! 😀

In future I would probably make sure the lines are more horizontal, which would give off a more Audrey look!

So this is my Audrey Hepburn inspired eyebrow tutorial! Hope you like, Megan :)xx