Today the mark of a put-together woman is a chip-free manicure. But back in Diana Vreeland’s time, getting your nails done was both time-consuming and laborious. Wouldn’t you know that one had to sit for hours to wait for the varnish to dry? Only the most affluent could afford to have their hands sit idle for such lengthy periods. That is until Mrs. Vreeland showed up in New York City armed with her last remaining bottle of red nail polish. “When I arrived in America, I had these very dark red nails which some people objected to, but then some people object to everything,” she says in her autobiography, DV. Her manicurist in Paris was a man named Perrera, who she claimed made a varnish that dried instantly. So, as the last of her red was running out, she took her dwindling bottle and headed downtown to have it copied by a man who was in the business of making polish. That man was Charles Revson. According to Mrs. Vreeland, his original formula had a great color, but still took hours to dry. It was only when he was able to study the remnants of Perrera’s polish that he was able to create a product unlike any seen before in America. All that was left to do was to change the “s” in “Revson” an “l” to “Revlon” and the country’s largest cosmetics brand was born… or so the story goes.
Photograph by: Jonathan Becker