Yesterday morning I popped into the new Maybelline shop in Covent Garden, that's up for ten days covering LFW. (It's on, of all places, 18 Shorts Gardens - the same little street where my beloved hairdresser, Collette, resides, at Windle. I ducked incase she saw my uneven ends: I haven't been back for even a trim since January).
What is it about make up that is so deeply, powerfully evocative? There was something so joyous about the event: I really liked the Maybelline girls, and the Marie Claire girls, they're great fun. Saw a really well done presentation by Lisa Oxenham, above, which really made me think about the creativity and talent behind the art of make up. Since she's fresh off the catwalk for NY fashion week - just days ago - this was a really current report to insiders, and it was fascinating to watch.
Perhaps it's because I'm such a disaster at it - because I've almost prided myself in recent years that I hardly wear any - that I never thought about what a powerful part of the fashion industry make up plays. And what an impact it has on how - DUH - we can look.
She put the current trends into two categories: 'bold and beautiful', and 'super shine'. The left image, below, isn't one of mine, but from the recent NY shows:
"As we all know New York is normally synonymous with ‘playing it safe’ make-up", Lisa told us. "it’s never too crazy but for the first time in years there has been a huge injection of colour.
The most spectacular show so far has to be Z Spoke – Zac Posen’s new younger line. It was full on and totally over the top with colour on the eyes lips and cheeks. At Preen James Kaliardos did blue eyes inspired by Egyptian skies. James’ look at DVF was pigment-popping with fuchsia lips. Sara Lucero created a playful look with fluoro green eyes, fuchsia lips and bright pink cheeks at Betsy Johnson. And finally, orange was huge news – Tom Pecheux’s focus was on bright orange eyeliner at Derek Lam and Diane Kendal created sienna-red eyes at Carolina Herrera both with lip liners. The models had unperfected matte orange lips at Erin Fetherston and Dick Page created these same orange lips with sun-kissed skin at Marc by Marc Jacobs
So not bad for a very shy New York."
(I'm doing this as a two parter: next up: 'Super Shine')
While I looked at the images, I thought back to my childhood: my darling grandfather had a pharmacy in 'the city', on Park Avenue. Over the years, he'd bring home, when my mom was a girl and even after she had us, the loveliest things: gilt compacts, lipsticks, Kent brushes.. I remember playing with make up, that heady, forbidden fruit, just as my niece Scarlett and I did when they were in London last: they were staying at the Mandarin Oriental, and she and I had a hilarious time at the Harvey Nicks counters: me and this six year old, dressed up like a bunch of hookers, skipping around the city streets, holding hands and singing.
But I especially remember the make up my mom choose for herself. Like me, she didn't wear much: some mascara, bit of powder, blush, lipstick.. always Maybelline. Like Proust's Madeleines, somehow the combination of all that Maybelliness brought it all back. And I thought how nicely 'our' Maybelline has grown up.
I left there feeling so up, kicking myself that I didn't take them up on the offer to nab one of those lovely pastries, but also with a seed planted. A dare to myself. I want to go back, during the next five days (it's running for only ten in total) and what tricks they can teach this old dog.
The Maybelline shop is on 18 Shorts Gardens, near Neal's Yard, and to bring this full circle: my memories of NY days come full circle TODAY in fact, as they're having a New York themed day: Cosmos, Manhattans and tasty treats as well as the chance to win Big Apple- inspired goodies from Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Banana Republic and more as well as Maybelline’s Get The Look kits. check out the twitter hunt. I defy you to go and not walk out with a huge smile. In a bright colour, of course.