Vintage Geisha Girls – 1930’s Fashion film in color

Geisha Girls in 1930’s color fashion film

This beautiful 1930s color fim shows three Japanese women in traditional geisha style.


The history of the Geisha makeup

The apprentice geisha are called Maiko, and in the film, an excerpt from James Fitzpatricks famous 1930s travelogues, we see an older geisha being attended to by her Okasans or sisters.The heavy makeup was only applied to Maikos, and when she became a mature geisha, she was not expected to wear as much, as she was now considered beautiful in her maturity.

The art of geisha makeup.

Ignoring the fad of instant geisha makeup videos on youtube, which followed the successful Memoirs of a Geisha film it is interesting to learn what a real Geisha had to endure in order to achieve the look. The application of geisha makeup is a long endurance test, very time consuming. First up is a special oil, melted in the hand and applied to the chest, neck,face and nape.This helps the white foundation to adhere. In the early days, many of the pastes contained lead and must have been poisonous to the young women, but modern geisha do not have this to worry about.

The method

White powder was mixed in water to a paste and brushed on. Once fully applied,and sponged down, the eyes are painted red and black. The red color was more dominant in the Maiko [ student geisha ] and disappears when she has become a full Geisha. Finally the lips are painted with a small brush, the original red was from sallflower. Sugar is dusted over top for a glistening effect. The lip is only partly covered in a manner that reminds me of the 1920’s flapper cupid bow style. Again, the small lip effect was only for younger geisha, and eventually she will paint her full lips.

Vintage Geisha Makeup tutorial

You can download original vintage make-up and beauty guides now.
Learn the art of the 1920’s, the 1930’s look, 1940’s make-up fashion and 1950’s women’s make-up and beauty styles


That’s all !
©Glamourdaze 2011

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3 thoughts on “Vintage Geisha Girls – 1930’s Fashion film in color”

  1. Great post! Its a refreshing focus on the 1930s! A time when the West took on a fascination for the orient… it is not something a lot of people focus on. I have always found it interesting how the cultural mix created a glamorous fusion of the Chinese Qi Pao (Cheongsam) and Western fur coats, hand bags, high heels and pearls in 1930s Shanghai. Looking forward to your future posts as I have just started following you! May x

  2. Yes, the look we think of as Geisha is Maiko often.

    I wonder if the 1920s make up was inspired by the deco fascination with Japan and the orient?

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