Saturday, November 21, 2015

Max Factor Hollywood Museum

The Max Factor Museum is located at Highland & Hollywood Boulevard right next to Mel's Diner, still dazzling with decadence, and pretty in pink since 1928. Purchased by Max Factor himself during the Depression era, the building was designed by famed architect S. Charles Lee, who was responsible for giving it my absolute favorite kind of design style: Hollywood Regency / Art Deco. When I say dazzling, I mean literally. The building is painted a soft rose pink, glazed with glitter!

When dreaming up The Pink Collar Life, The Max Factor Museum and it's make-up rooms heavily inspired the idea, and i'll explain why....





For the first time in history, Hollywood movie stars, women of high society, and pink-collar working women were able to go to a public place for their cosmetic needs, without being known as "hussies," and such stigma disappeared as it became a common, acceptable thing to do. Max Factor was known as the "Make-up King" to Hollywood royalty, and housewives of America, as he changed the face of beauty, creating silver screen gods & goddesses of the Golden Age. All of the pink collar girls who were signed, were sent to Mr. Max Factor for a complete make over, prepped and ready for the studios and silver screens to come. This man revolutionized glamour, and inspired me to attend beauty school at one point. 


Max Factor and Jean Harlow

Aside from aiding in the transformation of Norma Jeane to Marilyn Monroe, Max Factor has made so many contributions to the world of beauty, with his innovative inventions and cutting edge cosmetics. There are so many notable things he has done, but there's too many to count! Immigrating from Russia to Hollywood in 1904, the Factor Family saw the opportunities in the growing film industry, and began offering made-to-order wigs, and theatrical cosmetics (known as flexible greasepaint). In 1918, he developed "Color Harmony," which was a range of face powders that allowed him to customize any color for any actress. He was also responsible for many of the distinguishable characteristics of our film favorites, such as Clara Bow's heart shaped lips, and Jean Harlow's signature Platinum blonde. 

He developed panchromatic make-up, which was compatible with the new technology of panchromatic film in the studios, replacing orthochromatic film. As Technicolor film developed, he then created his "pan-cake" series, as film stars were very unhappy with how they were looking in color, refusing to appear on screen. Pan-cake concealed all skin imperfections under a transparent matte finish. He is also well known for his bizarre creation of "The Beauty Micrometer," which looks like a terrifying torture device. Although it's looks are peculiar, it is actually one clever calibrator, and totally genius. This invention was made to measure the contours of the face within very precise measurements, finding and correcting flaws of the famous. Only one of these was constructed, and it lives here at the Hollywood Museum!

Lastly, Max Factor is responsible for coining the term "Make-up," as if to make up, and create a new face.

Let your tour begin... 



Fresh Faced Marilyn awaiting her makeup artist

I knew i'd be in the presence of pretty pinks and pastels according to the hair-color coded rooms, so I had to dress appropriately. I wore a late 40's gingham cropped blouse and a 50's pink pencil skirt, complete with some candy-colored 1950's slingback heels.



My happy place! The gorgeous pink, marbled, deco lobby
It took nine years to restore the Max Factor Building to its original splendor, with it's rose-colored lobby of lavish marble, re-invented historical chandeliers, pastel hues, antique furniture, and trompe l’oeil, finished with faux 22 karat gold and silver leafing and gilt. The epitome of Old Hollywood Regency, this was an inspiration when decorating my boudoir, and how could we forget  - Amber Foxx's very own Max Factor powder room.

Courtesy of The Hollywood Museum 


My room <3 (where Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow became platinum blondes)

Marilyn's Vanity with all of her personal belongings and cosmetics

Marilyn's medicines found bedside at time of death, and death certificate 

Original paper, from 1962 following Marilyn's death

We all know Marilyn loved her diamonds!

Marilyn's Bustier

I always love looking at Marilyn's Springolators 

Close-up of Marilyn's Springolators


One of our favorite looks of Marilyn's, on display! - the Pucci series, done here on The Pink Collar Life in tribute 

Marilyn's make-up & matches






Leaving the Blonde Room, and entering the Brunette's Room...







Hedy Lamarr & Ava Gardner's personal beauty items

That machine!




One of my favorite features of the museum, Marlene's handwriting in lipstick! Swoon....


Max Factor working his magic on Rita Hayworth


So, we've covered the blondes, the brownettes, and the brunettes. You didn't think we were finished did you? The Redheads! Coming up on Part II of the Max Factor bit on The Pink Collar, you'll see personal items from Lucille Ball, and Rita Hayworth, autographs & archives, as well as wigs and wondrous odds and ends.

Stay tuned for another dose of Old Hollywood glamour.

<3 Ashlyn

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