Beuaty Queen from Vienna

Helena Rubinstein not only revolutionized the cosmetics industry but was also a pioneer of female entrepreneurship. An exhibition at the Judenplatz Museum now honors the "inventor of beauty" who died in 1965.

At the age of 16 years, Helena Rubinstein (1870-1965) left Krakow to go first to Vienna and then to Australia, where she founded a cosmetics world empire without any help at all. Her company soon had 100 stores in 14 countries and about 30,000 employees. Krakow, Vienna, Melbourne, London, Paris, New York and Tel Aviv are the most important stages of her life. The exhibition "Helena Rubinstein. The inventor of beauty" traces her journey as a migrant who conquers continents and smashes conventions and focuses on her commitment to the self-determination of women. A focus on Vienna shows how skilfully she used her artistic network and business skills locally.

In 1932, she opened a salon at Kohlmarkt 8 in Vienna. She also took on production of the waterproof mascara invented by Viennese singer Helene Winterstein-Kambersky, which didn’t run in the rain or heat. The "Waterproof Mascara" was presented at the 1939 New York World's Fair with a water ballet to great media effect.

What is remarkable about Rubinstein: At a time when cosmetics wasn't actually discussed and make-up was frowned upon, she pushed through her idea that each woman could discover her individual beauty and make the best of it. Rubinstein was firmly convinced that by doing so, women would acquire a sense of self-awareness. She also earned a fortune during her lifetime with her cosmetics products. Her motto always remained "Quality's nice but quantity makes a show".

Helena Rubinstein. The inventor of beauty. 17 October 2017 - 6 May 2018


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