|| 17 August 2017
The Bettencourt Affair
The oldest — and certainly the richest — of the chic French women of certain age featured in Chic & Slim Toujours is Liliane Bettencourt, the nonagenarian heiress to the L’Oréal fortune. For a decade a scandal has revolved around Mme Bettencourt and her friend François-Marie Banier. Now Tom Sancton, former Paris bureau chief for Time, has written The Bettencourt Affair: The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris.
As the scandal unfolded, I followed the media reports. Lately I have been reading reviews of The Bettencourt Affair published by Penguin Random House. Tuesday I purchased and downloaded the iBook version of the book.
Tuesday afternoon sipping my tea and reading the section of the book about how Liliane Bettencourt’s father had struggled in the early 1900s to develop a hair color product that would not damage hair and produce attractive color, I was conscious how, only a few hours previously, I had made an effortless application of L’Oréal’s Preference haircolor that left my hair in healthy condition and the exact color I wanted. Eugène Schueller and the subsequent L’Oréal chemists had done their work well.
The French value appearance highly. That L’Oréal’s hair and cosmetics products have aided French women look attractive may provide one answer to the author’s question as to why the company’s founder escaped punishment for collaborationist activities in WWII.
Kirkus Review calls The Bettencourt Affair “A well-researched, crisply written, and entertaining story of family, greed, wealth, and the complex relations among them.”
'The Bettencourt Affair': Extravagant Friendship Or Cruel Swindle? NPR interview with the author: audio
L'Oreal's Dark Roots Are On Display In 'The Bettencourt Affair' NPR Book Review
How a Struggling Artist Seduced the Richest Woman in the World and Caused France’s Biggest Scandal. Author Tom Sancton discusses his detailed investigation of The Bettencourt Affair in Vanity Fair.
be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone