Section One

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Woodbury Matched Make-Up
Veronica Lake
Unidentified artist, c. 1945

The Woodbury Soap Company’s innovative 1911 slogan, “A skin you love to touch,” focused on the consumer, not the product, and introduced sexual undertones to enhance the appeal of a basic face soap. In this 1940s “stand-up” poster for a drugstore window, Woodbury, still marketing with sex appeal, chose the actress Veronica Lake to promote its makeup. A successful leading lady for Paramount, Lake was one of Hollywood’s darlings at the time. She was already a trendsetter; her blonde “peekaboo” hairstyle had launched a fashion craze for eye-covering curls.

Here, in order to focus attention on her complexion, there is only a hint of an errant wave. With soft, peach-colored petals in the background to match the actress’s exquisite face, and with Lake’s plunging black tulle neckline, the ad promises the Woodbury consumer not only delicate femininity but also a touch of naughty Hollywood glamour.