COSMETICS: Beauty's Handmaiden

The queen of the U.S. beauty business' billion-dollar-a-year empire is a short (4 ft. 10 in.), plump woman of 71 with a youthful complexion. When she is at work in her eight-story Fifth Avenue salon, she is Helena Rubinstein. At home, in her 26-room, three-floor Park Avenue apartment, crammed with about $1,000,000 worth of paintings (Matisse, Picasso, Dufy, etc.) and art treasures, she likes to be called Princess Gourielli (her husband is a Georgian nobleman turned businessman).

Last year, Helena Rubinstein Inc. sold $18 million worth of creams, lotions and perfumes in...

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