Behind the Color: 1952 Wild Orchid
Although the war is over, your days have not slowed down. You no longer wake up early to commute to the factory, religiously clocking hours as an assembly line worker. With your husband home from service, he returned to his dutiful career leaving you to take care of the house and children. Although it’s a drastic change from the life you knew, you take pride in being the devoted housewife, always making sure the home is clean and cozy. You idolize Debbie Reynolds and Doris Day. They make housework look effortlessly glamorous.
In your spare time, you like to follow the latest fashion and beauty trends closely. Everything is so much more luxurious since the war has ended. Your most recent beauty purchase was a new lipstick, a vibrant shimmery fuchsia. You fell in love with this shade when you saw a high-fashion model wearing the same color! It’s a glamorous departure from the red lips of the 1940s, a beautifully bold color that will turn heads.
The end of the Second World War triggered a wave of luxurious consumerism. In the 1940s, manufacturing was hampered due to restrictions of the war effort; however, the end of the war brought “prosperity and a new affluent lifestyle” (Hernandez 129) for American women of the 1950s. Women were no longer needed in the workplace, so their duties returned to the home. Career women were seen as cold and intimidating, while the new archetype of the housewife was idealized as television became popular. Shows like “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” portrayed the housewife as effortlessly beautiful and advertisements lured viewers with glamorous campaigns. The advent of credit cards made luxury items easily obtainable. Families were buying televisions, luxury cars, and throwing lavish dinner parties. Consumerism was on the rise as success was measured by the number of possessions one had.
American women were no longer restricted in their beauty regimen. The 1950’s beauty routine was romantic and full of fantasy. Cosmetic advertisements were heavily stylized and focused on chic locales, like Paris and Italy. Christian Dior, a new fashion mogul, emerged and revolutionized fashion. His modern silhouette was based “on a femininity that combined historic concepts and brought a war-ravaged world into a new age of glamour” (Monet). His fantastical designs featured “tiny, corset cinched waistlines, full busts, padded-hips, and short shoulder lines” (Monet), fully embracing the feminine form and establishing the “New Look” of the 1950s. The New Look created an international frenzy and captivated American women. Dior’s designs were worn by starlets, like Marlene Dietrich, and his influences were seen in Hollywood films and in the swing skirts worn by everyday women.
Pink became the color of the decade, as it symbolized feminine ideals. Even Audrey Hepburn once famously stated, “I believe in pink!” Pink was the new red, representing and embracing the matriarchal glamour of the decade. Pastels and fuchsias were popularized in makeup, as reflected in Dior ’s haute couture fashion ads. Soft pastels and shimmer shadows covered the model’s eyes and were framed by a sharp winged liner. Pinks, purple-reds, and fuchsias showcased the lips, as a full pout was now the new trend.
Bésame’s Wild Orchid is a faithful replication of a shade from 1952. Inspired by the high fashion advertisements of the 1950s, Wild Orchid is a beautiful, vibrant, Fuchsia-red with a subtle shimmer. This shade perfectly captures the luxury of the decade while encompassing the allure of high fashion. Pair this shade with a rosy pink cheek, and winged liner to recreate the iconic feminine beauty of the 1950s.