Behind a table filled with stacks of make up and hair spray sits an Israeli woman dressed in the vein of Bettie Page but with a contemporary twist. Part curled up and part down hair all in blood red color with matching eyebrows, freshly applied red lipstick on her lips paired with winged black eyeliner. Dressed in a pastel pink Polka dot dress it would seem like she’d been pulled out of a U.S fashion magazine from the 50s and is part of Bettie Page’s gang minus the Morticia Addams tattoo on her left foot. One thing that’s different is that she isn’t at the Rockefeller Center six decades ago, she’s in Tel-Aviv specifically teaching make up and modeling. Meet Dafna Bar-El.
I’m sitting in Bar-El’s pin-up masterclass held at Yarin Shahaf school of make up and I’m puzzled, in the sense that a mechanic wants to get his car running sort of sense. Bar-El is showing a class of student’s a run down of pin-up hair styling with matching make, kind of like a YouTube beauty tutorial before there was YouTube. It’s a group of fifteen or so women all with interest in the pin-up beauty look gazing at Bar-El work on Yuval Lasri whom is the model for today.
The thing about pin-up make up and beauty is that it just seems natural, it isn’t over done, at least in my opinion, but the process is around an hour plus for the trained hand and think that you need to do it on yourself, quite complicated. It varies from coats of contouring to lip-liner to eyeliner and mascara. There’s an order to applying it all and even in Bar-El’s case she recommends Smashbox Cosmetics since they sly from animal testing.
In recent months the pin-up culture has been exponentially growing with many themed events through out Israel specifically Tel-Aviv. Events like burlesque shows happen every other month, rockabilly themed parties occur on a weekly basis and even swing dance competitions occur from time to time. A recent charity event named “Chicks for Pits” for pit bull dogs with local pin-up models selling calendars in order to raise funds for unfortunate dogs who need a home or medical surgery had a wild success.
Fashion is an important part to the culture of most metropolitan cities, that’s a known fact. Bar-El is a prevalent example of niche group of fashionistas that dwell in Tel-Aviv and have found pin-up culture lovers like themselves. It might just be around the corner that Tel-Aviv will turn into a Mad Men fashion city with women replicating Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page or even men mimicking Don Draper’s style, who knows? One thing’s for sure Tel-Aviv is always progressing even if it means using old trends while sporting sleeved tattoos.