Photos by Francesco Scavullo
In a profession where the word superstar is bounced around as lightly as Ping-Pong balls, she is the genuine article — not just Box Office: the biggest female draw in the whole wide world. When Streisand's at the movies, everyone goes to the movies; when she makes a record, everyone buys it; and her TV ratings resemble election-night coverage (what could have been more fitting than to premiere Funny Lady in Washington with—for an appetizer—a TV special from Kennedy Center!) ... To Barbra, Funny Lady is a turning point: in this film she says, she is finally out of herself and into the skin of the character she plays — "I have a sense of me now ... I don't need to assert it." It shows — and not only on screen: for the first time in years, she has changed her look. Hair, makeup, even fingernails—there is a new Barbra ... and here she is.
HAIR. The gentleness is what comes through first—her hair, once brown and worn straight, is now golden blond and ripples to her shoulders in soft, pre-Raphaelite waves. Not everyone could get away with it—it takes a lot of style, a lot of self-certainty. It takes a Streisand, and on her it's charming ... she calls it "golden floss," and how it gets that way is pretty, too: "I put it up at night with a braid at the top of my head and tie it with two or three different-color ribbons. When I take it down in the morning, my hair is all set."
SKIN. At one time or another, almost every woman who goes to the movies has envied Barbra's skin. With good reason. It is absolutely beautiful, glowing and poreless as a child's — and, until recently, when she spent a week at The Golden Door spa, something she's mostly taken for granted. "That was the first time in my life I have ever pampered myself—I put moisturizer on my face, I put moisturizer on my hands, I put eye cream all around. I don't usually have time to do these things. I just use soap and water ... Neutrogena, as a rule. If my skin is breaking out I'll use oatmeal soap to dry it. Then it gets too dry, so I switch to an apricot soap, or Dove, and put on a moisturizer—a hypoallergenic one, like Almay ... I like the idea of pure things. My mother is in her sixties, and she has terrific skin. She used to get a honey-and-almond cream from a woman who made it at home in Brooklyn. I have a little jar of it ... I'm saving it for when I get older."
MAKEUP. The difference between what Barbra does with her face now and what she used to do is the difference between the Barbra who used to make herself up with her brother's paints and call herself "the painted lady," and the Barbra of today—the very together lady, who no longer needs a poster to let the world know she's here. She may sometimes use a purple shadow—the subtlest shade of it, to bring out the blue of her eyes—otherwise her new look is monochromatic and completely natural. Her everyday face is almost makeup-less—blush, a bit of brown edging her eyes, lip gloss—and takes five minutes. A full-scale makeup takes ten—along with the purple shadow, she may put mascara on her lashes and blend her eyebrows with an ebony art pencil (#2365) that she's never without—"It's also good for writing notes." Because her skin, she says, is yellow in tone—and because "go with what you've got" is her credo—Barbra's makeup base, when she uses one, is Max Factor's Chinese. If she's tanned, she mixes it with Tan #1; if pale, with Cream #2. To keep it looking moist, she pats all over with cold water ... She has an uncanny sense of light and shadow—"I feel when the light is right, or when there's a funny shadow"—and she knows her bones: once when a friend was doing her portrait, she became fascinated with the way he built up her face on the canvas. Afterwards, she had him "paint" her face on her face—to learn the anatomy of it and how it responded to light and color. She learned well—today, she is her own best makeup expert. This Vogue sitting, in fact, for which Way Bandy did some of her makeup, marks the first time that Barbra has let any one do for her what she does so well for herself. She loved it—the only area of difference was textural, Way preferring fluid makeup; Barbra the dry, powder kind: "It never slides, even under lights. I used to check it in a mirror when we broke for lunch; now, I never even look. It's either very egotistical, or not egotistical at all...I'm not sure which."
NAILS. Her long, tapering nails, which used to take four hours to manicure, were cut to normal length for her next film, A Star is Born, in which she plays the guitar. As an experiment, she first cut only the nails on her right hand, "I found I could garden and cook. I could even touch someone's eyes ... I could touch my own eyes!" Her left hand, she kept for jewels and "for when I wanted to be unapproachable ... I don't like being that way, though I sometimes have to be."
EXERCISE. "I don't have time to do much, but what I do is concentrated. I work at home with Marvin Hart, and I walk for two miles three times a week. Also, for the first time I'm conscious of holding my stomach in ... I have a sense of my body now."
DIET. Barbra's week at the spa ended a life-long affair with junk foods. Not without a struggle— "I was so sure I was going to feel deprived that, before I went, I stocked up on hot dogs and Cokes. But it was wonderful, and my skin was clear as a bell. It isn't a radical thing with me — the food there was organic, but it doesn't have to be ... just good healthy food. The point is, if you know that what you're putting into your system is good, it makes you feel good about yourself."
Scavullo Outtakes & Streisand Comments
The photos from this session are gorgeous! Scavullo and Streisand were a great match. One of the poses from this photo shoot was used as the cover of Barbra's album Classical Barbra.
Below is another outtake, plus one behind-the-scenes shot of curly-haired Barbra in 1976 checking out the Classical Barbra album cover proofs.
In 2009, for In Style magazine, Streisand commented that “I'd been wearing a lot of jeans and antique blouses with little beads and edges. This was a gorgeous dress made out of antique scarves and handpained with flowers—kind of hippie. I found it in a shop in Sausalito. I've got an antique clothes display in my new house, and it's hanging there.”
Below are some alternate shots, not used in Vogue.
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