Elizabeth Taylor’s home, photographed by Catherine Opie for her book, 700 Times Road, can inspire even the minimalist in us to break out the glamour. The boudoir, the dressing table, groaning with bottles of expensive, no doubt custom-made scent. Tiny vials of blue, lavender, violet and teal eye-shadow. Those Tiaras. If there’s any truth to past lives, Taylor was definitely Helen of Troy or the stunning Cleopatra, a look she often wore. The word beguiling played around my mind as I walked the exhibition at MOCA’s Pacific Design Center last summer and drooled over the emeralds and gorgeous fabrics.
Opie’s photographs do so much more than record the surroundings, they get under the skin of the legend pretty intimately.
The sweetness of the feminine objects can hardly mask the steely determination of both subject, eight-times married and one of the legends of the Hollywood studio system, and photographer. Catherine Opie spent months on the project, documenting all with precision and Taylor’s permission, while the movie star passed away, cared for elsewhere. They never met, but the work continued until completion. That’s a photographer.
There’s no room for plastic: you want to be an everlasting beauty, don’t you?
And this is beauty. Soak it up and cast an eye over the utilitarian, perspex-clad Kardashian dressing table. Yes, the chain was broken, but you can take it up: scour vintage stores and auctions. Look for gilding on your makeup box, a silver-handled brush, some silk and a stash of beautiful perfume bottles. There’s no room for plastic: you want to be an everlasting beauty, don’t you?