The Schmooze

Helena Rubinstein's Face Cream and Chutzpah

In the world of beauty, Helena Rubinstein is still a legend, yet the details of the tycoon’s life, from her birth as Chaja Rubinstein in the Jewish Kazimierz district of Kraków, to her death in her mid-90s in 1965, are comparatively little-known. A new biography from Les éditions Grasset in Paris, “Helena Rubinstein: The Woman who invented Beauty” by Michèle Fitoussi, aims to correct that.

Fitoussi, a Parisian of Tunisian Jewish origin, writes for Elle Magazine, for whom she scored an exclusive interview last year with the mother of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan Jewish origin who, in 2006, was kidnapped and murdered in Paris. Fitoussi, who has also made French adaptations of plays by such Jewish Americans as Eve Ensler and Israel Horovitz, is a careful guide to Rubinstein’s complex relationship to her own Judaism.

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Helena Rubinstein's Face Cream and Chutzpah

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