Monday, November 14, 2011

Besame Workshop Recap

I'm only a few days late on this, but as I saw a tweet today from What Katie Did LA requesting photos from this event, I figure it's best if I include them all in one write-up.  Thus this post.

Several weeks ago, I received word that the founder and owner of Besame Cosmetics, Gabriela Hernandez, was going to be doing an in-shop workshop at the new Los Angeles What Katie Did store.  I had gone to the store grand opening celebration, in part to meet Gabriela, but due to unforeseen circumstances, she was unable to attend.  I was so excited to attend the workshop until I realized that I was already booked for the day on which the workshop was scheduled.  Drat.

Long story short, a few days before the event, I realized that I was, in fact, free that morning, but I was still hemming and hawing about whether or not I should go.  Six month-old sons are not exactly cheap, so I've been trying to be more frugal.  Plus, I was also scheduled to attend a wedding later that day.  I just was not sure if I wanted to be out and about so much that day.  My friend Tricia, however, convinced me to go.  And boy, was I glad that she did!

Gabriela began the talk by asking the assembled group if there were any specific topics that she should cover.  I love that she wanted to make sure to address all burning questions and touch upon all desired topics.  I had none, I honestly just wanted to hear what she'd have to say.  As someone who has done make-up professionally, I did not need any tips or pointers on application.  (But I'd be lying if I said that I didn't learn any--Gabriela was even able to teach this old dog some new tricks!)

The lecture itself was focused on the 1940s, specifically on glamour and grooming.  Gabriela has recently authored a book on make-up that covers the subject from pretty much the dawn of recorded history to the year 2000!  So she picked a decade that really ushered in the use of make-up by the average woman.  Prior to that, make-up was used almost exclusively by the theatrical industry and by women of ... ahem, looser moral standards.

She talked at length about not only how women wore their hair and make-up, but also about the products themselves.  As her business seeks to replicate the best aspects of vintage make-up, it was fascinating to hear more about the composition of vintage cosmetics.  It was also very refreshing to learn that Gabriela's interest is in truly recreating the good stuff--not just making knock-offs of colors used back in the day.  

She discussed how products of the 1940s were often manufactured to be multi-use and to last and last.  Most modern women have experienced the frustration of pay big bucks for a product, only to have it spoil or end up contaminated before the product is close to empty.  I know that I've shelled out thousands of dollars on product that only later is thrown away half full.  (Granted, a lot of that is par for the course when it comes to maintaining my professional kit, but still!)  The lecture even included two period film clips that showcased beauty tips and application methods.  I was quite impressed!

After the lecture, Gabriela held a question and answer session where multiple topics were discussed.  Attendees were also able to review her new book, and she was happy to sign copies for purchasers.  (Oh, how I wished I could have afforded a copy!)

Finally, she was on hand to help answer questions about her products and even helped a few of us pick out a new lipstick.  

I should point out that What Katie Did were gracious hostesses.  I received a lovely goodie bag which included a Besame lip balm and generous samples of all of Besame's red lipsticks.  I am very much looking forward to trying them all!

Note the gorgeous lingerie in the background

The lovely Ms. Gabriela Hernandez

OH!  I do know that Gabriela will be doing another book signing on 19 November at ReVamp Vintage in LA.  I highly recommend attending!  ReVamp's salon is filled with gorgeous reproduction clothing and, if you're a fashion and make-up geek like me, getting the change to hear Gabriela speak is not something to be missed.

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