Make-up: A Glamorous History S01 complete (1280x720p HD, 50fps, soft Eng subs)
Georgian dandies, demure Victorians and decadent flappers. Make-up artist Lisa Eldridge reveals the beauty of bygone eras, using make-up as a window into the world we live in.
E01 Georgian Britain
Professional make-up artist Lisa Eldridge explores the peacocks of British history: the Georgians. Wealthy Georgians used their look to show off just how rich they were - it took time, skill and money. The sheer glamour of the high Georgians was no accident; it is a style that owes its origins to the turbulent history of the age. The 18th century was a period of massive ostentation, matched by staggering inequality – ending in parts of Europe with bloodshed and revolution.
Lisa goes to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire in search of one of the beauty icons of the day, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and learns how she employed a full-time hairdresser who travelled everywhere with her and earned the equivalent of £100,000 a year plus expenses. She discovers how in this period of extreme wealth in Britain, the rich entered an arms race of beauty – competing to go more and more extreme to show they belonged. With the help of pharmacist Szu Shen Wong, Lisa recreates the era's famous toxic white face paint, which in some cases proved fatal. She enjoys the homespun recipes for rouge and eyebrow pencils, and marvels at the elaborate hair styles. Gathering all this together, she recreates an authentic Georgian look on a 21st-century model.
But a look can go too far. By the end of the 18th century, the excesses of this aristocratic look came to represent all that was wrong with the upper classes, and when Marie Antoinette lost her head at the guillotine, such an ostentatious look became not just unfashionable but downright dangerous. There wouldn’t be another look like it for over a century.
E02 Victorian Britain
Lisa Eldridge explores how the Victorians prized natural beauty above all else. Today, when Lisa is asked to do a 'no make-up' look, she knows she is in for a lot of work. All make-up is about illusion, but the natural look is the ultimate magic trick – disguising its own existence.
In Victorian Britain, make-up was frowned upon. Women were supposed to be naturally beautiful, reflecting their inner purity. But Lisa discovers there were all sorts of sneaky ways to enhance your looks without being found out.
It was also the era when so much of today's make-up had its origins, from mascara to brands that have survived into the 21st century. It was also the era of advertising and magazines promoting beauty ideals – many of which will feel familiar to viewers today.
As Lisa delves into this obsession with natural beauty and looks at some of the products created to help achieve this look, she finds out more about the Victorians love of science, their focus on hygiene and their desire for conformity. With all the products and knowledge she collects, she recreates the ideal Victorian beauty look on our 21st-century model, Queenie. And it takes more work that the Victorians would ever admit.
When it comes to beauty, ‘natural’ isn’t as innocent as it seems. The Victorians believed that the condition of someone’s skin was an indication of their inner worth and found that it’s hard not to get tangled up in trickery, hypocrisy and downright lies.
E03 Britain in the Roaring 20s
Lisa Eldridge explores her favourite era for makeup. This is the moment when modern makeup as we know it arrived in women’s handbags, and it is no coincidence that it appeared at a moment of huge change in British society.
WWI and the global flu pandemic were over. Women were entering the work-force and could now make choices about how they wanted to look and how they spent their money. The flappers cut their hair and put on red lipstick. Lisa explores how, although starting as a shocking look for the few, moved in less than two decades through the pages of magazines and into beauty counters on every high street.
This was the era when Hollywood films, with all their beauty and glamour, first arrived on our shores, and everyone wanted to look like their favourite star. Lisa visits the British Film Institute archives to find out about the impact of cinema on the development of some of our favourite makeup products.
She works with of pharmacist Szu Shen Wong to recreate some of the authentic recipes for foundation, eye makeup and lipstick from the era to try out on herself and on our 21st-century model.
Lisa takes us on a journey across the years when makeup turned from something shocking to a near-requirement among women everywhere.
First broadcast: April-May 2021
Duration: 1 hour per episode
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