The first time I wore red lipstick my Dad told me I looked like a clown. The second time, he told me I reminded him of a Japanese Noh artist (it was that very moment I cursed my extensive theatre knowledge, having wished I’d not really known what a ‘Noh artist’ actually looked like). I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, given that he handed my sister a twenty pound note on the night of her debs and told her to have her moustache waxed! My Dad is not known for mincing his words. But did he have a point? Applying red lipstick is a carefully curated art, one that has taken years to master and I feel that I am finally at the stage where I can rock a red lip without fear of looking like an entertainer of the comedic or Japanese variety. However, beware. Before any kissing occurs, the red lip must be removed unless you plan on giving bare-faced cheek to your kissing partner and by that I mean, you both will both look like Byzantine lovers and by that, I mean vampires.
While I am all for showing some skin, I prefer a peekaboo lace than a Miley Cyrus flesh-baring unitard (I’m thirty two after all and cold, most of the time) and I love how this dress has an under-slip that just about grazes the thighs – it’s sexy, sultry and has long sleeves – boom! As seen in Wicked Wit, Darly’s Comic Prints, the current exhibition at the Chester Beatty Library, the Macaronis (the original dandies) were peacocking around London in the mid 18th century in lace blouses and any trend that pays homage to the fops whose sartorial style I long to emulate is a trend worth investigating. All hail the dandy! Although my style is casual through and through and I almost never dress up unless I’m going to a wedding, despite all the twee Hallmark connotations associated with Valentine’s Day, I am a true romantic at heart and I love getting dressed up for the occasion.
While I adore the aesthetic created by Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, I’m still a few notches short on confidence to embellish my face with lace overlay. Lace is one of my favourite fabrics, not in the least how it can weave stories in its fabric. Renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic, artistic director of Givenchy, described Tisci’s spring summer 2016 designs as ‘delicate and sensitive.’ His presentation at New York Fashion Week paid homage to the tragedy of 9/11, with a set made entirely from recycled materials so it could be assembled and dissembled without creating any demolition while music from six different cultures and religions was played, creating an harmonious sense of cross-cultural appreciation. At dusk, two beams of light were shone on the set to represent the monumental loss of the Twin Towers. Tisci’s monochrome palette in lace gave an overwhelming funereal quality to the show, appropriate to the task at hand. Yet take this Topshop lace dress I’m wearing, its botanic designs and primary colours weave a web of romance, telling a very different story altogether.
My nails were inspired by Jonathan Simkhai’s spring summer 2016 look – nail technician Gina Edwards created negative space manicures inspired by ‘a juxtaposition of the scaffolding-filled city and the softness of the country.’ Niamh at Tropical Popical created this look for me and the tri-colour red, nude and silver has a very David Bowie-esque feel to it, a look I wholly approve of. I might mention that prior to this, there was a very distinct whiff of Keith Richards from my talons!
These shoes from Carvela, Kurt Geiger are dead ringers for the inimitable Manolo Blahniks made famous by Carrie Bradshaw and Anna Wintour and despite them being the most un-me shoe ever, (I’m more of a clunky brothel-creeper or monk style footwear aficionado and I’m not one bit partial to a brogue, despite many people telling me it is my style) I actually adored them when I put them on. I felt like Kirsten Dunst’s Marie Antoinette in the Sofia Coppola film – a veritable feast for the senses and one of my favourite films. The costumes are divine, the food is decadent, the soundtrack vacillates between Aphex Twin’s Dustin O’Halloran’s out-of-character classical piano pieces to the Sex Pistols and The Cure. Oh and it features my favourite rent-a-hipster Jason Schwartzmann. Side note: it also features Tom Hardy and Jamie Dornan. In case you’re wondering………
I almost always wear Mac’s Ruby Woo but this is a much cheaper Nyx version of the classic red lip (Nyx Matte Perfect Red) paired with Mac lip liner in Cherry. My eyeliner and eyebrow product is Inglot and my cheek highlighter is Elizabeth Arden. Stay tuned for next week’s blog where I attempt to wear a suit and not look like a 12 year old child trying on her mother’s Sunday best. In the 80s. Gah. Miuccia Prada, Alessandro Michele, I blame you.
GET THE LOOK – MAKEUP: