Just bought a marvellous, hysterical book about beauty in the early 70s which I must share with you. It’s called, cunningly, The Beautiful People’s Beauty book and it was written by Princess Luciana Pignatelli, jet-set mate of Talitha Getty, Marella Agnelli, Veruschka et al. Pignatelli starts out with the magnificent sentence “Every century a great beauty is born. I was not one of them.” and continues with some great pearls of wisdom on how to play with the big guys on the beauty front if you were born with heavy ankles and a bad nose.
Lots of plastic surgery and starvation are two of them, Philipinno cigars instead of cigarettes (so bad, ciggies, for the skin) is another. Then there’s not letting the water in the bathtub ever touch one’s bosoms and applying regular “homosexual facials” (that is, face masks made of olive oil and whipped egg white that all her gay Parisien friends swore by). The reason I bring this 44 year old book up now? Because a) from a social history point of view the International Jet set of the late 60s and 70s fascinate me and b) I just had a treatment at Carita, the place for facials in the olden days. Catherine Deneuve, Sylvie Vartan and Isabella Adjani, these were just some of the clients you might have bumped into at its headquarters on Rue Faubourg St Honore in the 60s and 70s, sigh.
For the last couple of decades the brand slightly lost its lustre. But with this new Cinetic Lift Expert Body treatment, maybe it’ll recapture some of its magical allure.
How does it work? Well, it is actually two treatments, one for slimming, one for refining (so ideally you’d have a course of between 5 and 10), a non-surgical procedure to reuce cellulite and peau d’orange skin. It is based on a system called ‘Cinetic Face’ which Carita launched in 2013 and combines three technologies: micro currents, ultra sound and LED (that’s Light Emitting Diode, the stuff NASA use to grow plants in space) which essentially penetrates deep into your fat cells and breaks them down.
Here’s how it goes. After a body scrub with Renovateur, a product Rosie and Maria Carita developed in 1956 containing sunflower seeds, thyme and lemon, on goes the serum (yellow, which is the “thinning” one, red, which is the firming one). The therapist then runs an LED & Ultrasound Massage Disk over the area to be worked on to encourage the reduction of fat cells - and I’m not going to lie, if you’ve got sensitive ears and/or instinctively flinch at the sound of chalk on a blackboard, it’s going to feel weird (I can only manage it on level 1, euphemistically likened by my therapist, to a “dolphin’s squeak”). Next up is a lymphatic drainage massage administered by the beautician who is now wearing metallic gloves containing 35% silver fibre, wired up to a big old galvanic current machine. Which also feels weird, especially if it catches a nerve, but if you’ve managed through Slendertone, you will probably be fine.
Does it work? Look, you’ve probably got to eat less and work out more to see any results (I’ve only had two treatments so far) but it certainly feels like it's going to do something. And besides I’m getting bored of treatments where you don’t feel a thing. I like a no pain no gain element to a procedure. And j’adore the scrub, the serum and body cream that you can use at home to supplement the results.
Moreover, I know Princess Pignatelli, who had a thing about her lumpy waist, would have totally been up for it, and that means a lot to me. I half worship at the shrine of this woman, this woman who once got so bored she plucked every single hair out of her legs with tweezers. She had style. She had élan. And judging by the photos in the book, the time and money she spent on transforming herself paid off. She made it all look so easy too. "You too could be a beautiful person, if you would only get some bigger sunglasses and try this coral lipstick" as one of my favourite pieces of her indispenable advice went.
Treatments are 45 minutes long and cost £65. Book your appointment here.