This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
The Last Will and Testament of Daphne Le Marche begins in 1956 when 18-year-old Daphne steps off the bus into a bustling Paris with a case full of homemade beauty products. She goes on to becomes the Grande Dame of the beauty industry and, when she dies in 2016, she leaves behind secrets along with her rich signature scent.
We thought basing a novel around the beauty industry in the 1950s sounded most intriguing so we asked the author, Kate Forster, to tell us more.
My inspiration to set The Last Will and Testament of Daphne Le Marche in Paris during 1956, came from my research on Paris after the second world war.
Not only were the 1950s an important time for French haute couture, but also for French beauty products, which seemed to go hand in hand.
Revlon had produced a non smear lipstick and in 1954 the 'Couturiers Associés': Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, Paquin, Carven, Jean Dessès, founded the first haute couture ready-to-wear licensing company. It was becoming easier for women to become more fabulous.
Perfect lipstick and couture off the rack meant women from lower classes could reinvent themselves into anyone they wanted.
Women were heavily influenced by movie stars at the time. Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe were just three archetypes of movie-star to emulate. Women wanted to be like them, and the consumer industry responded. The urbanisation of rural France was also impacting on the city and the women within it. More women, like Daphné, were coming to the city to find their own opportunity.
Household gadgets also helped women in the homes, and many women decided to work, in fact wanted to work even after children. Magazines told women they could be regal like Grace Kelly or sultry like Brigitte Bardot and still have a job. It was an alluring time.
Beauty products which were previously used only on movie stars could be bought in stores. Powders, creams, eyeliner and lipsticks all promised that anyone could be a star. It was equalising for women against movies stars, and having a job and working was equalising with men.
It was the start of an exciting time for women, who in the next ten years founded brands like Chloé, Sonia Rykiel, and Madame Grés and more.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT The Last Will and Testament of Daphne Le Marche.