Blast From The Past

Gia Francesco Scavullo

We came across Francesco Scavullo's 1982 coffee-table tome Women on a Soho wander over the weekend and did a triple-take once we realized the heavily contoured, lip-lined, big-haired cover-babe was a 17-year old Brooke Shields [1].

Inside? Luminaries abound, including Gia (Gia!!!!) [5], who tells Scavullo: "There's a lot more to being good-looking than makeup and prettiness...there's a lot more to being a woman than that. When I look in the mirror, I just want to like myself...And if I like myself, then I look good." Jil Sander [2]—who, judging from her Milan appearance last weekend, knows a thing or two about aging gracefully—notes, "I learned early that I had to become strong in order to do what I wanted. Every woman in the Eighties needs a strong personality. It's much more valuable than beauty...I am face-minded. I'm interested in personality and you see that in the expression, in the eyes, when a woman is not overwhelmed by her clothes." Also inside are Farrah Fawcett [4], Princess Caroline of Monaco [6], an extremely fresh-faced and freckly Patti Hansen [9], Norma Kamali [7], and Donna Summers [8], among others. The whole thing is like a retro-minded—we aren't kidding about the lip liner—and extensive Top Shelf. Obviously, we loved it.

As for Scavullo himself, he offers his readers their own 'ideal beauty regimen,' which we think largely stands the test of time (though the wording of #7 is especially tragic, in retrospect, considering Gia's drug-related demise in 1986):

1.Understand Yourself. Take the time to get to know yourself. Study yourself, your habits and your features, and evaluate each of them realistically. Which are best? Which have areas for improvement?

2. Consult an expert for advice. Every woman's features are different, and to be truly beautiful, your makeup, hair, skin and wardrobe should be suited specifically to you. Let an expert teach you how to maximize your potential.

3. Develop a style of your own. What you're trying to achieve is a look that enhances your features as much as possible and at the same time lets your natural beauty shine through.

4. Allow yourself enough time to be beautiful. Give yourself enough time to improve those areas that need it an to maintain a balanced beautiful look.

5. Be open to new ideas. Be flexible and experiment with new ways to accessorize, apply makeup, and so on. Freshness only adds to basic beauty.

6. Keep your body healthy. Always get enough sleep and exercise, eat properly, and maintain good nutritional habits.

7. Be disciplined. Once you've found what works for you, stick with it. Being beautiful is a kind of positive addiction, and once you've developed the habit you won't want to give it up.

8. Have respect for yourself. Always maintain an attitude of tremendous respect for yourself and for the people you come in contact with, so that you always try to look your best. A positive mental attitude is the best incentive to beauty; if you love yourself and you love life, you can't help being naturally beautiful!

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  • Cristina C

    I have both "Scavullo on Women" and "Scavullo on Beauty" and will never part with them. They're time machines back into the world before grunge and Kate Moss.

    Another great fashion book from that period to look out for is Caterine Milinaire's "Cheap Chic," which has style advice from Yves St. Laurent, Diana Vreeland and Fran Leibowitz.

    • Tina1982

      I have these Scavullo books too. Some of featured women aged well (Ali McGraw, Jerry Hall, Carmen) but some did not (Farrah Fawcett) so I wonder just how much of it comes down to genetics vs. lifestyle.

    • Alice

      oooo the Cheap Chic one is so good!

  • Fabiana Pigna

    poor Gia...

  • 4jsc

    Way Bandy, now there's a blast from the past.

  • Janine

    Why can't it be the '80s again? Everything was so fun...until it ended. The makeup, the fashion, the music. It's sad. And the styles today that copy that era will never have that originality, that fun, that independent spirit. The '80s and '90s were so original.

    Every woman looked beautiful when Way Bandy did her makeup and Scavullo photographed her. All those great Cosmo covers. My favorite was Christie Brinkley in gold mesh. The perfect Cosmo cover.

    I'm glad I was in my teens and 20s back then. I wouldn't give it up to be young's too boring (I'm sorry). Everyone looks the same, with their faces in their phones.

    Time marches on. I guess you're officially old (or as I like to say, not young) when you start saying things like that.

  • GJ

    Wow, Brooke Shields certainly peaked in her early years/teens. She certainly became so much less attractive as she got older...So interesting, as it is usually ugly ducking turning into swan, and not the other way around...C'est la vie

  • RTG

    I have both Scavullo books and the Way Bandy book and Scavullo on Beauty is my favorite. The profile of Streisand is worth the price of admission.

  • Alice

    I love all this make-up I think they look glorious! and glamorous. I adore older beauty books like Sophia Loren, Women & Beauty. A real gem, with some really funny advice like when you are this tanned you can afford to wear less make-up (next to a photo, dark tanned sophia with mega make-up)! I have that Cheap Chic one too. Now I want the Scavullo on etoo