Here’s a way to get your beauty fix this week without feeling a tad bit guilty: delve into the history of the beauty industry at Wednesday night’s screening of The Powder & the Glory, a documentary that’s part of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s year-round programming series at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
The 86-minute film explores the well-known rivalry between beauty industry pioneers Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein, both of whom launched careers during the first decade of the 20th century – a time when makeup and beauty treatments were often thought to be synonymous with prostitutes and stage performers, not regular women.
As successful entrepreneurs, both women built empires, became exceedingly wealthy and, together, created an industry that now rakes in upwards of $150 billion annually. But through it all, Arden and Rubenstein remained fierce and, sometimes, even bitter competitors. Though both women lived and worked just blocks from each other for over 50 years, they refused to meet in person.
The film explores their complex relationship through rare archival footage and on-screen interviews with such icons as the late actress Kitty Carlisle Hart and model Twiggy.
After the film, the party continues over at W Hotel’s XYZ bar, where the first 50 guests will score swag bags courtesy of sponsors Bare Escentuals, TerraNova, Yes-to-Carrots, Kryolan and more.
Tickets are $8 for adults ($6 for students and seniors) and are available online or by calling 415-978-2787.