MADAME ON THE MOVE
Melbourne, London, Paris
HELENA RUBINSTEIN LEFT AUSTRALIA in 1905 a gifted beginner in the business of beauty and returned a consummate professional. Her first stop was Krakow, where she admitted to having an uneasy meeting with her parents. She would later write:
When I returned to Krakow, I found it had not changed at all, yet to
my eyes it had grown smaller. It was still a beautiful city, but I
thought it quiet and dull and life there had become alien to me. I’m
sorry to think I cut short my visit to my parents’ home, but I had to
hurry to Paris to begin my studies under the famous dermatologist,
In reality, it seems likely she never saw her father at all, merely spending an hour or so with her mother, still clearly unable to comprehend the aggressive vitality of her eldest – and still unmarried – daughter. The deeply orthodox Rubinsteins were still living in Kazimierz, an area by now inhabited by people Helena considered depressingly poor. Her estrangement from her parents wasn’t rectified by this brief visit. She was never to see either of them alive again.
Whether or not Helena studied with ‘Dr Berthalot’ isn’t known, but she certainly went to Paris, where she found a bed at her sister Pauline Hirschberg’s home. ‘Aunt Hela’s’ visit clearly captivated the Hirschberg’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Marcelle, who would later work for her aunt in Argentina, whilst her mother did ‘family duty’ by running Helena’s first Paris salon which she opened in 1909. Helena knew expansion depended on
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Publication information: Book title: War Paint: Madame Helena Rubinstein and Miss Elizabeth Arden : Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry. Contributors: Lindy Woodhead - Author. Publisher: Wiley. Place of publication: Hoboken, NJ. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 69.
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