VIVA MAC: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of MAC Cosmetics
Published: April 2019© 2019
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 312 Pages
Illustrations: 30 b&w illustrations
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
312 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.75 in, 30 b&w illustrations
The first cultural history of the iconic brand M·A·C Cosmetics, VIVA M·A·C charts the evolution of M·A·C’s revolutionary corporate philanthropy around HIV/AIDS awareness. Drawing upon exclusive interviews with M·A·C co-founder Frank Toskan, key journalists, and fashion insiders, Andrea Benoit tells the fascinating story of how M·A·C's unique style of corporate social responsibility emerged from specific cultural practices, rather than being part of a strategic marketing plan.
Benoit delves into the history of the M·A·C AIDS Fund and its signature VIVA GLAM fundraising lipstick, which featured drag performer RuPaul and singer k.d. lang in its first advertising campaigns. This lively chronicle reveals how M·A·C managed to not only defy the stigma associated with AIDS that alarmed many other corporations, but to engage in highly successful AIDS advocacy while maintaining its creative and fashionable authority.
Prologue: Rise Up
Introduction: The Rules of Make-up Art Cosmetics
Part I: Spaces of Original Possibilities
1 The Kitchen Sink
2 Fashion Capital
3 Caring Is Never Out of Fashion
Part II: Creative Activism
4 Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
5 Selling Out
6 Dragging Theory into Practice
Epilogue: The Brightest Jewel in Our Crown
"The book makes important contributions to urban history, the history of queer life, the history of corporate social responsibility, Canadian business history and the history of beauty and fashion."Catherine Carstairs, University of Guelph, Canadian Business History Association
"This is a story that needs to be told. Todays’ generation of fashion students have no history of the losses the industry faced in the 1980s-1990s as the AIDs epidemic was ravishing every level of the fashion and the arts industries. VIVA M·A·C gives them a thorough account of how we got to where we are today."Susan Baxter, associate professor of Marketing and Dean of Graduate Studies, LIM College
"The book is highly original as there is no other socio-cultural or business history of M·A·C. Benoit fuses a detailed historical record of M·A·C, AIDs within a setting of entrepeneurship and the Toronto fashion scene in a readable and enjoyable style that is framed within relevant critical theories that support and explain these histories that have not previously been delineated. This is a work that should be much referenced."Alexandra Palmer, Nora E. Vaughan Senior Curator, Textiles & Costume, Royal Ontario Museum
"With her extensive and illuminating research, Andrea Benoit tells the powerful story of a fearless company with heart. Harnessing the unbridled creativity that ran rampant in Toronto during M·A·C's formative years, ‘the Franks’ tapped into the pride and psyche of an entire society and inspired it to new artistic heights. Despite AIDS's dark shadow, Benoit paints a compelling portrait of an exhilarating fashion era, illustrating how courage and compassion can exist on a corporate level when hearts and minds are open and passionate." Jeanne Beker, Journalist, Author, and Style Editor
"What happens when a company engages in ‘cause marketing’ long before that concept was widely known or practiced? Benoit’s study of M·A·C and AIDS-related fundraising during the 1980s and 1990s tells this fascinating story with panache, analytical rigour, and far-ranging historical investigation. This crisply written, multi-disciplinary account will interest scholars in such fields as health and society, LGBTQ studies, critical consumer/marketing studies, fashion history, and media studies."Daniel J. Robinson, Associate Professor, Media Studies, Western University
- Winner - Business History Book Prize
Canadian Historical Association | La Société Historique du Canada
- Winner - National Business Book Award
- Short-listed - 2021 Heritage Toronto Book Award
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We spoke with Andrea Benoit, author of VIVA M·A·C and asked her about the M·A·C Cosmetics story and what Pride might look like this year. We even got it all on video.