Filed under: Books
We were delighted when L'Oreal offered to send us a copy of the 5-book boxed set 100,000 Years of Beauty, a book created for their 100th Anniversary. We at Luxist have a passionate relationship with beauty.
100,000 Years of Beauty takes you on a fact-filled journey of eye candy through Prehistory, Antiquity, Classical Age, Modernity and even shows you a peek at the projected Future. Each book showcases and discusses what the world sees/saw/will see as beauty. For example, in Modernity, stories of the struggle for social equality between races and genders are told alongside breathtaking images of Olympic athletes, Brando in a t-shirt, naughty postcards, Bollywood, Miss America contestants and more. Any one of these books would be a welcome addition to your coffee table, and in their fixed stack (the dark shell doesn't come apart), they make an attractive element of decor.
Like with many coffee table books, the text can be somewhat dense, but the books are an arranged series of articles with different authors -- 300 of them, artists, historians, philosophers, anthropologists and other specialists of 35 different nationalities -- allowing you to skip around to find a voice you like. The story the books ultimately tell is one of 100,000 years of striving for beauty all over the world. It puts our fashions, media ideals (both healthy and unhealthy) and uncomfortable shoes into an interesting perspective; people have been suffering for beauty universally for centuries. The concept of that quest becomes more honorable; the suffering looks less shallow. There are few inherent goals of mankind -- one seems to be justice, and another is beauty.
With Valentine's Day coming up, this book would make an excellent gift for a friend (though we still recommend jewelry for your significant other), or even a young woman in her teens. Poring over 100,000 Years of Beauty could broaden a young mind, enrich their appreciation of art and calm their personal anxieties about their own appearance; how they fit into our current ideals.
100,000 Years of Beauty is available from Amazon for $295.00. Have a look through the gallery for a peek inside the book.