Friday, November 10, 2017

Bésame Cosmetics' Agent Carter Collection and the Women Who Wore It Before


Your newest pieces of tech are on the way.

I’ll admit makeup is not my strong suit, so we teamed up with an American brand to make our tech look as convincing as possible.

This is as much detail as I can tell you in an unclassified letter.

Your mission briefing will be in the fall, enjoy the summer!"

- Howard

When Bésame Cosmetics announced an impending Agent Carter makeup collection at D23, I was ecstatic. The company is well known among many fans for carrying the lipstick that Hayley wore on the show, and they pride themselves on re-creating golden-age makeup for the modern woman. It became the perfect crossover for Peggy Carter, a modern woman existing at the same time as the Golden Age of Hollywood, especially when season two brought our favorite agent to Hollywood.

The collaboration comes with the popularity of Bésame’s 1946 Red Velvet lipstick, which is often sold out on their website, and was made easy because of their already existing relationship with Disney. Hayley Atwell tweeted about the lipstick at the end of 2014 after many fans were curious about Peggy's style, and now it shows up on Agent Carter cosplayers who are looking for that little something extra. For almost three years, the many reviews on the product are from excited fans. While the makeup line release will most likely include this shade, it would be re-packaged to look like a prop from the show (perhaps Dottie's "Sweet Dreams" lipstick?). The collection is slated to debut early in 2018 along with letters, puzzles, and fun story-driven materials. It appears that the pieces will be released one by one and hopefully there will be an option to purchase the full set by San Diego Comic Con in July 2018. In the meantime, you can enjoy the bit of detective work the site provides on the Agent Carter page and subscribe to emails to be notified when new information is released about the collection.

And while the makeup collection and continued news is exciting, Peggy Carter isn't all about looking glamorous while she kicks butt. At the same time that Peggy navigates World War II and her SSR career thereafter, the CIA and the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) was formed with women at the heart of many legendary missions. It’s fair to say that many women make up the rich pool from whence Peggy Carter came. In honor of this new avenue for our favorite super spy, let’s take a look at some of the women whose work was top secret in the 1940s, the women who came before Agent Carter.

Julia Child née McWilliams

Yes, that Julia Child, the chef we all knew about as kids. But she didn’t become a chef until after the war. Julia worked as a clerk in the OSS headquarters office in D.C.. Eventually she found herself stationed in India and later China, where she worked with classified communications that in part helped locate POW camps. She was in charge of dealing with an incredible amount of filed information and organizing it so the OSS could keep track of what was going on. With that amount of information accessible to Julia and the others that worked with her, it was important that they be trusted. As head of the Kandy Registry, Julia held the secrets of OSS intelligence that included names and code names of many agents currently operating around the world. If the information were to be compromised, it could mean the death of many agents and possibly a turn in the tide of the war. After WWII, Child got married and lived in France, where she discovered her love of cooking French cuisine.

Betty Lussier

The OSS worked heavily with the French resistance. Betty Lussier worked in the X-2 branch, where she created her own adventure. Prior to joining the OSS, she was a pilot with the British Air Transport Auxiliary. After joining, she trained in cryptography and counterespionage, although she wanted more action. It was partly why she had become a pilot (her father had served in the Royal Air Force during WWI). She wasn’t allowed to serve on the front lines with the Seventh Army but made her way there anyway to help pass information between British and American armies. One of the more notable things Lussier did was look for Nazis and their collaborators. Some of these men were turned into double agents for X-2. She turned one such man who had dreams to work in Hollywood but worked for the Germans. A promise to get him to Hollywood led to a confession and a few Nazi arrests. The French made sure he never made it to Hollywood. After the war, she also got married and ended up in Spain with her husband helping develop and establish schools in poorer communities.

Lussier’s memoir is titled Intrepid Woman: Betty Lussier’s Secret War, 1942-1945

Gertrude Legendre

Gerturde Legendre was another adventurous agent, one who got captured near Luxembourg with other agents in 1944. Her cover story, developed in the middle of the attack, was that she was an interpreter for one of the “officers” she was with. She was a clerk at the Paris embassy. The cover story worked. She stuck to it as she was transferred from cell to cell and interrogated multiple times over the course of six months. Before this, she worked at the Cable Desk and was privy to a lot of sensitive information that she pretended not to recognize when she was captured. She knew information about operations and people that, if compromised, would prove beneficial to Nazi Germany in defeating the French Resistance. When she ended up in Switzerland, Legendre told her story to operatives and was brought home.

Gertrude has a memoir entitled The Time of My Life

Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall was the queen of disguise, transferred from Britain’s special ops to the OSS in 1944. She had lost her leg years prior from a hunting accident. Hall helped train hundreds of agents who were responsible for subverting German operations. While her limp was the only identifying mark of her person, she evaded the Gestapo for years, keeping in constant motion and continuing to train forces as part of the French resistance. She was trained in radio transmission, weaponry, and security, and managed to make use of every bit of her education prior to joining to help her career and covers flourish. After the war, she worked in Washington at the CIA, retiring only when she reached the mandatory retirement age. Hall is one of the most well-known women agents from WWII, and she was the first civilian and woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross for her work.

There is a biography about Virginia Hall titled Wolves at the Door: The True Story Of America's Greatest Female Spy by Judith Pearson

For further reading on these and many others, check out Sisterhood of Spies by Elizabeth P. McIntosh!


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