Chapter Four of Super Vixens' Dymaxion Lounge happens to be the big makeup chapter, in which I gather tips and tricks from Sharon Stone's makeup artist and Rita Hayworth's choreographer, and even eyelash queen Eartha Kitt herself. The chapter starts out like this:
My favorite shade of lipstick is a color called Silent Red. It's a
liverish, bloody, voluptuous unction, heavy with complicated pigments;
the saturated hues of love and anger mixed together in a neurotic,
regal, murderous, transcendent red. Over the years I've had long auburn
curls, Louise Brooks bobs, and platinum buzz cuts, but always the red
A new chapter appears every week on the way to the new print edition.
My good ones from Rubis, anyway. All I have are a flimsy little pair that breaks the hairs off rather than pulling them out by the root. (This picture is from March, but is an accurate representation of how my brows look when they haven't been pruned properly for a while.)
I did my best today, with wax strips and a prayer. It's not even close to sufficient. Good thing I'm flying back to the Bay Area tomorrow...
My favorite teas tend to be dark, smoky and oriental--as opposed to the weak, milky westernized teas you sip in a drawing room with your elbows resting on lace antimacassars while nibbling digestive biscuits. I'll take a fermented puer "camel tea" or a lapsang souchong over English breakfast any day. So I was very eager to try L'Artisan Parfumeur's Tea for Two, which LuckyScent described as rich and smoky, with some chai-like spice and a vanilla drydown.
But when I sampled my decant from The Perfumed Court, I smelled not tea, but strong tobacco, a note that only intensified through the drydown. Now, a little tobacco can be a good thing. A commenter on basenotes said of Tea for Two: "My uncle grew tobacco on his farm and that is what Tea For Two smells
like to me. If you have never smelled large amounts of tobacco hung for
drying you are missing out on the greatest smoky scent that exists!" And I have long loved Grandiflorum's Blond Tabac, which to me smells woody, but the charm of which which has been dulled by familiarity over time.
I had hoped Tea for Two would be my new smoky scent, but on me, I fear the tobacco note is too dominant. I will try it a few more times, but I'm thinking this unisex scent will end up in the hands of my brother Din, who often smells of a good cigar and would probably carry this off brilliantly. I may have to order a sample of CB I Hate Perfume's Burning Leaves next.
I make my way back to the pool. I need a loo, and find one in a pool
cabana that looks like a seventies wine bar, the kind of place that was
always called The Hobbit. There's a dimmer switch next to the commode,
and a bowl of bobby pins next to the sink. On the way out I bump into a
woman in a tuxedo. She has a cigar in one hand and a sushi roll in the
I spot Mel Torme.
At the bar, I try to get a drink, but instead I end up in a pitch
meeting with a loathsome, tubby creature who claims to be a movie
producer. «It's a John Wayne, Tom Cruise kind of thing!» he exclaims.
«A musical kickboxing thing!» As I turn to leave, he slips me his
business card. «I went to college with Stallone,» he whispers.
I lose him, because the fifty-four-year-old Nancy Sinatra is about
to make her comeback by performing «These Boots Are Made for Walking»
on a cramped little stage...
Read the rest of the chapter here. I may have to tease my hair today, in tribute to Nancy.
Kingi Carpenter, owner of Peach Berserk in Toronto, is her own best advertisement;
wearing a baby blue ruched top of her own design, with babydoll pink lipstick, her arms covered in ink from silkscreening fabrics, she is the very picture of the midwestern farm girl who made
good as a fashion designer in the big city. This is what Dorothy would have looked like at
45, had she decided not to click her heels together and go home, but to
stay in the big, bright Emerald City with her fabulous new friends and
make a life for herself.
I have always thought of Toronto as a mecca of street style and alternative fashion, and was excited to visit Queen Street West, a neighborhood of shops, bars and restaurants which has grown up around the Ontario College of Art and Design. The first shop I stumbled into was Peach Berserk, where I instantly felt that old hungry-eyed yearning that only comes when you walk into certain temple-like stores. The shotgun shop is crammed to bursting with colorful garments in hand-silkscreened jersey, silk and taffeta that reminded me strongly of Betsey Johnson in the late 70s/early 80s, and when I mentioned this to Kingi she smiled and said, "I made a trip to New York in the early 80s, and when I walked into the Betsey Johnson store I said, 'This is what I want to do with my life.'"
I was surprised, when I began fingering the various garments, at how substantial the fabrics were and how impeccable the finish work was--something you don't see often in clothes with this much edge. Kingi and her lovely assistants print and sew in an open workshop in the back of the store, and will custom make any garment in any fabric. It's also hard to find clothes this youthful and fun that also fit a womanly body, and these are deftly cut to flatter the body.
Kingi is a great lifestyle example for my generation of artsy women who came of age in the 70s and now want to figure out how to approach middle age without succumbing to that dull urban classiness that seems to be the general prescription for how to look good after 40. There are a couple more pics after the jump!
The risk you with a dramatic change of hair color is that none of your clothes or makeup will work with the new look. The Kiehl's tinted moisturizer I'd been using happily for months now suddenly looked a bit ruddy with my new blonde, as did my earthier lipsticks, so off to MAC I went, in search of some colors with a bit more, ah, va-voom.
First, all bottle blondes need a perfectly pitched red lipstick, and mine turns out to be Ruby Woo, a bluish red that goes on bone dry and has a true eggshell finish. Because it's so dry, it can be applied with precision, stays in place well and never comes off on my teeth, smears or feathers, so I do not end up looking like a crazy old lady. It's the rare red lipstick that I can completely forget I'm wearing.
Next, I found a perfect color match in MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 foundation in NC30, and it, too, has a retro matte finish without feeling dry on my dry skin. Where the Kiehl's had a pleasantly warming effect when my hair was cooler and darker, this has a yellow cast and curiously enough, looks buttery instead of sallow now that my hair has a yellow tint to it as well. (I have noticed that right after I take the big heat curlers out, my hair looks like nothing so much as a giant kernel of buttered popcorn.)
Finally, I found myself craving a true white eye shadow, to go with the creamy beige skin and red lips, so I picked up some eye shadow in White Frost. I have taken to using MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study, a nude with some shimmer, as an eyeshadow base, as it resists creasing and gives a little glint to the eye. This seems to be the new cult product, too, as it's currently sold out. I keep it below the crease, as a shiny browbone makes this look veer catastrophically into the 80s, then just dab the White Frost over the center of the lid as a white highlight.
That's Summer Look #1. From this picture I can see that I need a more defined brow to finish it off. Coming soon.
My man surprised me this weekend, as we drove from Chicago to Toronto, with a stopover in Dearborn, MI, for a night at the Ritz Carlton and a visit to Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House. The Ritz has a partnership with Bulgari, which is a good thing if you are a connoisseur of amenities, which at the Ritz includes soap, shampoo and lotion lightly scented with the unisex Bulgari au Thé Blanc. I'm usually not a big fan of "white" scents, as they tend to be floral, but the notes here are white tea and white pepper over ambergris and musk. The effect is very white and clean indeed, but not in the way of laundry soap. I wouldn't even describe it as white, so much as clear. Yes, it smells transparent. Lovely, and appropriate in a hotel, where a fragrance really must be subtle enough to please everyone.
The Ritz experience was marred by an extraordinarily rude doorman, who scolded me publicly upon our arrival for accidentally tripping the safety lock on the revolving door (this happens, strangely enough, when you push on the door's handle). The next day, this same doorman was on duty, and when I looked daggers at him, he nervously skulked over and apologized, and then literally chased us into the parking lot offering to personally buy us breakfast, so sorry was he to have caused offense. I went from angry, to forgiving, to... kinda creeped out. A simple apology would have worked, but in the end it was just way too much doorman--doormen being another hotel amenity that should be transparent.
So says Isabella Rossellini, in this week's New York Times Magazine "Questions For..." section, wherein the model, actress and filmmaker discusses the sex lives of bugs and why people really need to stop insisting that, single and at 56, dating is good for her.
I seem to be a lone dissenter in my respect for the now-infamous
Aliza Shvarts' position as an artist, and admiration for the grand joke she's perpetrated on all of us. To me, she is indeed an artist, working in the fine
tradition of Carolee Schneeman and Kiki Smith, women who use the female
body as a a medium in often disturbing ways.
In case you haven't heard:
the Yale grad student claims to have artificially inseminated herself repeatedly,
then took abortion-inducing herbs to induce miscarriage and created an installation piece out of the detritus. The latest
storm has the University hastily denying that any of this actually
took place, with Shvarts countering that she did indeed do these
things, even if the question of whether or not she actually achieved
pregnancy during the making of the piece cannot be definitively
answered (though it's likely she didn't).
There seems to be a ratherlarge contingencydismissing Shvarts'
thesis work by saying, "She did it to get attention." Which
as a statement about an artist is neither here nor there: the
garnering of attention is and ought to be the goal of any artist,
with the exception perhaps of someone like Henry Darger. What they
mean is that she did it only to get attention, not for "art's
sake." Which reminds me oddly of passage in The World According
to Garp, where Garp admits he wrote his first novel for the most
noble of reasons: to impress a girl. It is not, I think, entirely
valid to dismiss Shvarts because she made her art for the wrong
reasons, or to say that it isn't art on that basis.
What do you get when you throw a true beauty obsessive in New York together with a veteran beauty journalist in LA? Not much room on the bathroom shelves, that's for sure. Make-up, hair products, skincare, perfume, salons, spas, luxury hotels with toiletries and treatments that make us never want to go home - if we've left anything out, you can pry our mirrors from our cold, dead, perfectly manicured hands.