Friday, April 13, 2012
Kiss and Make-up
Now, I am not claiming that I lose sleep over it, or certainly wouldn't admit to doing so, but like Joan I do love artifice and of late I've been wondering if maybe I'm not laying it on a bit thick. It's age you see -- does embellishment embellish, or does it look like you're trying to slap new paint on an old shed?
One of my friends in the fashion business, who owns an extremely posh "high fashion" boutique and knows her stuff when it comes to the cutting edge, does occasionally give me the once-over and suggests I let her daughter, a make-up artist, give me a makeover. This is how I know I've overdone it at least on that particular day. This from a woman with flaming orange lips and nothing else on her face to balance the shock. I choose to disregard the input.
The thing is, makeup is fun, as fun as colouring books used to be. And it holds promise -- I truly believe the only thing standing in the way of perfect beauty is the right lipstick. I truly believe my rather unfortunate skin looks way better with YSL or Chanel or Dior's latest little bit of cover. (I went utterly crazy during the height of the "minerals" trend, when tinted rock dust was the new, new thing to improve one's surfaces.) I truly subscribe to the gospel of "concealer" and if you don't, you lead far too exemplary a life.
I started on the journey of painting my own face, with much the same tools as Monet may have used to splash paint on canvas, at a young age. Maybe 12. It was while we were camping at The Lake for the summer and while my brothers were off doing whatever outdoorsy things they were doing (I have no idea) I was in front of a mirror, maybe attached to a tree, slathering on what little I could find by way of makeup in my mother's purse. These were in her grrrrl years when she didn't subscribe to much in the way of feminine wiles and so pickings were slim but enough to get my creative juices flowing.
I mistakenly thought this latitude meant I'd passed a rite of passage and I was now "old enough" for makeup and maybe even pierced ears but alas, she insisted on fresh-scrubbed again when we were back in civilization. But the passion was well-ignited and remains on a fast burn today.
Sales help at makeup counters love me, as I'm a full-swathe buyer. I usually paint a "look" -- it is thought out and meant to demonstrate a persona, a character, a life. When I was young and more voluptuous I was Marilyn, with black eyeliner, white skin, red, red lips; I've been the "natural" girl with beigey lips and lots of mascara; I've been "French woman", sort of moderately coloured wtih bright but not garish lips; I've been rock-chick with dark eye shadow that looked like I've been punched, or as my friend Marianne puts it, spent the night f'ing or crying. I'm now back to Bright Lip, for the summer you know, on account of all the bloody colour I see on the shop rails. Clothes in these colours are too scary to wear, lipstick I can manage.
But am I too old to be playing with these crayons? Do I care if I am?
Diana Vreeland, the visionary editor of Vogue, lived to her death with lacquered black hair, vermillion lips and cerise streaks of blush across her cheekbones straight through to her ears. I admire her courage and her belief in being exactly who she was, and she was well respected for same.
I've decided to have a sense of humour about it. And a sense of "this is me, take it or leave it" which is the gift of maturity. When people ask me what I like to do in my spare time, I'm going to admit it. I'm going to say "I paint."