Erin Parsons Makes Up With Marilyn

Marilyn by Ed Feingersh, 1955

Make-up artist Erin Parsons has spoken with Dazed Beauty about her growing collection of vintage products owned by glamorous stars like Marilyn, Mae West, and Elizabeth Taylor.

“How did you first start collecting all vintage beauty items?

Erin Parsons: Well, to be honest, collecting vintage make-up is a pretty expensive hobby, especially to find really rare pieces. It really started recently. Now that I have money in my life, that’s why I started. I had filmed a video with Emily DiDonato where I was going to transform her into Marilyn Monroe because I’ve always studied her make-up techniques. In that process, I reached out to a collector of Monroe items. He came to New York and he showed us all of the products. And of course, we started talking about how he won them at an auction. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s possible that I could own something of Marilyn Monroe’s,’ especially something beauty, because of course that’s what I love.

So, one of my first pieces that I ever collected was Marilyn’s eyelashes. After that, I just went crazy. It’s a full-on obsession…

What are some of your most prized pieces in the collection?

Erin Parsons: Definitely of course, Marilyn Monroe’s items. I just want a couple more things from her, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, and an eyebrow brush…

Do you have any specific brands that you really love to collect?

Erin Parsons: I’m collecting Maybelline because of course that’s who I work with, but it does have a special place in my heart … I also like Elizabeth Arden, because Marilyn Monroe used a lot of her products.

But basically another reason I got into collecting was because I just tried to find products that Marilyn was using, this is what has started me on a search for the lipstick she used. I have it in every search button, saved. I hope to own one of her actual lipsticks one day. I have found a lot of the things that she used back then. There was a lipstick years ago called Bachelor’s Carnation, and I now have three of them. It’s the actual colour, of course not what Marilyn touched, but it’s the colour she used and now maybe I can recreate that one day, and we know it was what she was using because of what was sold at auction.

Do you have a favourite vintage beauty icon?

Erin Parsons: Marilyn Monroe. I really, I really loved the vintage glamour back then. So I focused a lot on things like my muses or like women that I just find stunning that inspire me. I love Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, Jean Harlow, the list could go on and on and on.”