Sylvie Gobeil turned to Canadians to select her portraits. (Image courtesy)
In his novel The girl in pink, writer Sylvie Gobeil paints a portrait of entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden. The novelist tells the story of the woman who founded one of the biggest make-up brands in the world in her name.
The author of Sainte-Catherine tried to find out how to see beauty in the 19th century. Ms. Arden was born in Ontario in 1881 and lived until 1966.
The girl in pink. (Image courtesy)
“I was reading a novel and his name came up,” said Ms. Gobeil. I started to push my research to find out if there are reasons to make a novel and enough to write both.
According to Sainte-Catherinoise, Elizabeth Arden corresponds to the ideal of the “American woman who always goes to the spa”.
“He demands perfection, as one who specializes in historical novels. If something doesn’t suit him, he deletes it.”
She is considered by Ms. Gobeil is a pioneer in the field of cosmetics that changed the perception of makeup for American women.
“In the beginning, it was said that the woman who did the makeup was living a bad life,” he said.
During that time, people often re-embellish their story, he said. Mrs. Arden is part of a family that isn’t necessarily rich, but she doesn’t reveal it.
“He did everything to stay in that world,” explained the novelist.
His research and writing took almost a year.
“It’s not a biography, but more of a photo novel,” he explained, assuring that he stayed close to the truth.
In his 2nd volume, he discusses in more detail the rivalry that Elizabeth Arden lived with Helena Rubinstein, another great player in the field of cosmetics. In fact, the two have had a rocky relationship for 50 years.
“They never spoke to each other,” said Ms. Gobeil.
Its release is scheduled for spring. Meanwhile, his 1st volume is available in bookstores since August 31.
Since 2007, Ms. Gobeil published several series of books. Among others, the trilogies The land at the head of the river which tells the story of those who founded New France and The Dionysius of Saint-Simon which takes the reader to the beginning of the 18th century.