A friend of ours—specifically one of the bad-ass designers at Coach—collects vintage beauty books, and when she told us about The Beautiful People's Beauty Book, just the title made us dizzy with delight. It took a while to track our own copy down, but lo and behold, we snatched up a little paperback on eBay. And just as we had imagined, it was even more delectable than a fat farm in Gstaad!
Of course, this treasure wouldn't be nearly as covetable if it weren't for the "author," Princess Luciana Pignatelli (later she dropped the Princess and added Avedon when she married Dick's cousin Burt). She didn't exactly write the thing (technicalities—"as told to Jeanne Molli"), but all the glorious jewels of utter beautiosity, ranging from eye lifts and traveling with your wigs, to lash implants and homosexual facials (it's not what you're thinking) are pure Pignatelli. More about the Princess and her amazing, beautiful secrets below.
Born in 1935 in Italy, Luciana ran to Rome at 18 for her first beautifying procedure: A nose job. Less than a year later, she earned the title of Princess after marrying Prince Nicolò Pignatelli Aragon Cortès, 17th Prince of Noia (you know, Noia). After two kids, the marriage was annulled in 1968. "Marriage," she says in her book, ''stuffs the two of you so close together you can see love dying all over the walls." Romantic, right? Written at 35, Luciana references products imported by friends from Morocco and the Philippines, and prescribes separate bedrooms and homosexual friends as "key ingredients" to the maintenance of the beautiful. Here are the rest of our favorite tips for eternal hotness:
"My yogi, Grant Muradoff, Russia's loss and Rome's gain, was pleased I felt like yawning. He believes that, far from being a sign of boredom, yawning charges the batteries and give you strength. It is one of the simplest rejuvenators anyone can find."
Trade men in for a meal
"When you have to watch calories, it is much easier if you eat alone. This does not mean you should give up men's company, but ideally, you should have a man who is not always around."
"Many Romans do swear by honey. It is said to improve stamina and boost virility."
"Consuelo Crespi observes that girls are never more glowing than when they have just come off the tennis courts."
The Homosexual Facial
"The rage a few years ago with the chic Paris homosexuals is this: Take the white of one egg, a teaspoon of the best olive oil, beat, and apply for 20 minutes. Remove with hot face towel, lace trim optional."
Live a peasant's life
"Hair reflects the way you live," according to Rome's leading trichologist, Edward Goodman. "Peasants working in the fields have stronger, better hair. So do certain types of manual workers. The reason is less nervous tension."
"The one rule with hairstyles is that when one is over a certain age, hair should be worn short. Short hair seems to lift the lines of a face better than longer hair. Chignons and twists are an alternative for older women, but if all that can be achieved is a dreary bun, you might as well cut it off."
Hot vs. Cold
"Hot baths should never contain water higher than pelvic level. Above all, the bosom must never soak in the tub. Hot water only drags it down, and no woman wants that. After a warm bath, aim a good blast of cold water on the bosom and thighs. They need it."
Flat on the sides, full on the top
"Asked how he cared for his hair, a Roman businessman said he washed it at home. 'I wash it every two days. I like the sides flat, so I put on a net before I dry it. Don't write this down, I'll sound ridiculous.'"
Designer Emilio Pucci: "I swim and ski and I have a very strong nervous system, but when I'm tired, there is nothing like a half-hour massage. It is my drug. In Rome, I have two Filipino girls who come to the house. I would never be massaged by a man—I find it distasteful."
Carbs and booze…because what else is there?
"Surely, a woman's warmth and charm depend on at least a minimum of self-indulgence. Drink that wine, eat that pasta!"
Bless you, Princess.