Analogue Cosmetics

June 19, 2009 in Design, Fashion, Fashion Anthropology by Analogue Chic

A fabulous link was sent to me: cosmetics + archives = love

This is fashion anthropology in action.  Via VADS Blog

Staying Stylish in Hard Times: Wartime Cosmetics Archives Launched Online

The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) and the London College of Fashion announced a collaboration today that will see the photographic archives of three important cosmetics companies made accessible online for the first time.

Gala Lip Line lipstick

Gala Lip Line lipstick. © London College of Fashion

The archives of Gala, Miner’s and Crystal, three prominent cosmetics companies operating during and after the Second World War, are held at London College of Fashion and have been digitised and made freely accessible through the VADS website.

The archives are a valuable resource for the study of the history of cosmetics, advertising photography, fashion promotion and women in the Second World War.

During the War when silk was needed for parachutes and stockings disappeared from the shops, Miner’s had particular success with its leg make-up, Miners Liquid Stockings, which many women used to paint their legs and even drew black lines down the back of their legs to simulate the seams. Gala of London was also the first company to introduce lip stick in a tube when they introduced their Lip Line in 1957.

Model drawing a seam line down her leg with Miner's seam stick, 1941

Model drawing a seam line down her leg with Miner’s seam stick, 1941. © London College of Fashion

Showcard for Miner's Liquid Stockings alongside bottle of Miner's Liquid Stockings in shade of Grape Mist, 1941

Showcard for Miner’s Liquid Stockings alongside bottle of Miner’s Liquid Stockings in shade of Grape Mist, 1941 © London College of Fashion

Katherine Baird, Manager of Archives and Special Collections at the London College of Fashion said: “The history of cosmetics is a subject area poorly served by archives to date, and this archive is a valuable addition.”

“The war and immediate aftermath, was an important period for the development of package design and also for the development of women’s economic independence and consequently their image. The photographs in this collection provide a rich resource charting the development of designs and promotion of cosmetic products and images of women using them.”

Leigh Garrett, Director of VADS, said “We are delighted to have worked with London College of Fashion to make these unique archives accessible to a wider learning community than ever before.”

“Through our partnerships with university and museum collections across the UK, VADS has already made a wide range of visual arts image collections available online freely for educational use. This latest project will bring another valuable collection to wider recognition and use by scholars, researchers and students as well as members of the public.”

The three cosmetics archives have been digitised by the London College of Fashion and made available online through the ‘Enhancing VADS’ project, funded as part of the Enriching Digital Resources programme from JISC.

The collection is available at