Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Princess Luciana Pignatelli: I Believe in Dazzle

"I believe in dazzle and in learning all the tricks and flourishes that can make a woman glamorous."

This week we'll be spending time with Princess Luciana Pignatelli: royalty of confusing origin, and author extraordinaire of several auto-beauty-ographies. I've been meaning to write about her for a while, and just now I read on Donna Lethal's site that the Princess recently died. But I'm not sure that is confirmed.

The Princess is popular. Donna considers her a muse (the way I feel about Edna), and an Appreciation Society has formed on Flickr. She was last seen in 2003 by Mary Tannen.

This, her first book, published in 1970, begins with the Princess's theory on looks:

"A few times every century, a great natural beauty is born. I am not one of them. But what nature skipped, I supplied-- so much so that sometimes I cannot remember what is real and what is fake. More important, neither can anyone else."

The Princess, it seems, had humble beginnings:

"I was a lump, and everyone knew it. To compound the dreariness, my parents sent me to a school run by nuns. All legs and big feet, thick at the waist and thick in the nose, with no breasts and droopy shoulders, I had only one dream-- I would grow up to be madly sexy like the movie stars of the forties with their curves and cleavage. I longed for big breasts."

After walking us through many of her own beauty routines, the Princess lets her famous friends share their own tips. These tend toward the poetic and confessional:

"If you never sleep, or smoke like crazy, or never go out into the air, it shows. But if you're not happy, that's what shows the most. Some evenings, I can spend two hours in front of the mirror and nothing fantastic happens. I'm depressed and convinced it can't but I try. Other evenings, I put a little black here and there-- put a little black on my spirit-- and I look great."

"Even the most hideous people look beautiful when they're in love. With a good man, a woman doesn't need treatments, health foods, vitamins, or anything... at first."

The princess herself is perhaps most often quoted on something she actually attributed in the book to a Roman magazine writer:

"After the age of thirty, every woman needs a homosexual in her life."

If any of you know whether she did indeed pass away, please let me know at once. Everyone else: stay tuned for the Princess's diet tips and exercise demonstrations.