BEAUTY AND BRAINS
After writing the book, NYLON Beauty Director Fiorella Valdesolo schools us on the subject.
Merciless. Skin deep. In the eye of the beholder. There's no shortness of aphorisms attempting to expound—here's another—the mystery of beauty. Some, like the latter, suggest aesthetics are, well, up to you, while others could be either brilliant or merely bitter bones of contention. But as NYLON Beauty Director Fiorella Valdesolo argues in the introduction of Pretty: The NYLON Book of Beauty, "More than anything, beauty is evocative." Ergo, Valdesolo pads NYLON's pages with beauty icons instead of beauty basics, from Bowie to Lauren Bacall to Betty and Veronica; products with more than a pretty façade, such as classic Chanel Nº5 and cheeky Fresh Cannabis; and, well let's be frank, any and all things relating to sex. And Pretty is no different. Magazine mainstays Counter Culture and High Notes flesh out the fragrances, the lipsticks, and the luminizers that emulators can't hold candles to. Nearly a century of Private Icons pore over the lookers who we still, even decades after their looks have dwindled, eyeball for inspiration. And Mane Attraction sections dos from the peekaboo wave to the bouffant. So being that April is our beauty issue, and it also saw the publication of Pretty, Samantha Gilewicz didn't have far to go to be schooled in the subject than the lady who, literally, wrote the book...
This story was published on April 4, 2007.
What was it about the beauty industry that interested you to begin with?
Honestly, not much. It's a sector of the magazine industry I fell into purely because of my interest in writing. Though I quickly grew to love it... who can resist free beauty products?
How do you keep NYLON's beauty section so distinct from other women's magazines?
I try to always keep in mind what I would like to read and see. I've never enjoyed the long-winded beauty articles or super-straightforward product descriptions that read like a press release that so many other magazines do. I think beauty should be lighthearted and fun... I mean, how serious can you get about eye shadow? I also try to never limit my section to just products, and include as much as I possibly can about anything relating to human sexuality.
You see and smell sooo many new products. Name a few that have really excited you?
I generally get excited about anything that Fresh, Red Flower, Dermalogica, Chanel, and YSL put out. More specifically though, Creative Nail Design has some amazing polish shades being released for Fall like Rose Gold and Gunmetal Grey; Shu Uemura is launching their first line of hair products which are all phenomenal; the new fragrances coming out at the end of the summer from Sonia Rykiel and Versace are really unique; and I can't say enough about Trojan's newest vibrating rings!
What beauty product (s) can't you live without?
Cetaphil, YSL Touche Eclat, and sleep.
Have you ever concocted your own cream, perfume, and/or eyeshadow?
I've definitely tried to play mixologist with nail polishes and lipsticks, always with dreadful results. And though I've had perfumes designed specifically for me, I haven't loved one... yet.
You've done so many beauty private icons. Who's your favorite and why?
I've said it many times before, but the answer always remains the same: David Bowie. When it comes to beauty, and everything else for that matter, he was and is a true original.
Do you have a personal beauty icon?
My personal beauty icon changes constantly, usually depending on what I'm watching or reading. Right now it would probably be a combination of Anna Karina, Monica Vitti, and, um, Blanche Devereaux.
What beauty trends have stood the test of time?
The kohl rimmed eye and the red lip will never ever go out of style, and rightfully so. If it was good enough for Cleopatra, it's good enough for me.
Which trend would you love to see make a comeback? Which would you like to see go away and never come back?
I am more than ready to see the black nail trend die, and I would wholeheartedly herald the return of the spit curl!