REVIEW: SALI HUGHES’ PRETTY ICONIC

There are few journalists, writers and bloggers whose writing excites, inspires and connects with me as much as Sali Hughes’ does.

Her latest book, Pretty Iconic, following on from the hugely successful and highly acclaimed Pretty Honest, is a book of encyclopaedic proportions offering anecdotes, stories and recommendations of some of the most pioneering, brilliant and, of course, iconic beauty products spanning over a century.

Not only have I really enjoyed finding out more about the thoughts and ideas behind many beauty products and brands we now know and love, but it has also been a real unexpected trip down memory lane.

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Coming from a male dominated household and a family who aren’t all that into beauty products, I didn’t expect to recognise many of the products included on a personal level however I truly believe this book includes something that has been a part of everyone’s lives. All too often I’ve turned the page and a product I had completely forgotten about appears and brings back scents, smells and experiences that had long left my consciousness. As soon as I clocked eyes on the image of Cacharel’s Anais Anais Eau de Toilette, it made me remember how I used to love decanting the dregs of an empty bottle of this perfume onto my skin when I was tiny, thinking it made me as grown up as my mum who I had seen performing such a ritual.

The beauty of including products from all price brackets; ranging from high end skincare creams and brushes to cheap and cheerful soaps and lotions, means the book can strike a chord with pretty much anyone who picks it up. The accompanying imagery of each product makes this book even more of a pleasure and indulgence and would make a beautiful object for the coffee table or shelf long after it has been read for visitors to pick up and dip into. However, for me, the book’s real triumph is its nostalgic quality; offering a gentle reminder that it can be the smallest, seemingly incidental objects that truly encapsulate those precious moments that make up the fabric of our lives.

E.A.

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