The Great Glamour of Gatsby

 

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With the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, the Roaring 20s are back in, making their splash in a big way.

Home decor, fashion, makeup, accessories and even decorum (in some cases) are reflecting a time in American history where the parties were grand, the homes were extravagant, and the women were glamorous.

Luhrmann did an excellent job of painting a picture and inviting us in to see America enter a prosperous era. Morality was relaxed in the optimism brought on by the end of WWI and the booming of the Stock Market, and this was accurately portrayed by the somewhat eccentric cast.

One of the most exciting things to see in Luhrmann’s interpretation of Gatsby is undoubtedly the clothes – on both the women and the men. Costume designer Catherine Martin (Luhrmann’s wife) and the team of hair and makeup artists must have been thrilled with a project that looked like the ultimate game of dress-up. The suits were beautifully cut, and the dresses seemed to jump out at you from the cover of a magazine.

The well-to-do spared no expense when it came to jewelry, and Tiffany & Co. did a dazzling job of bringing the jazz era to life with their pieces in the film. The costumes came out of the House of Prada, and remained true to the period while throwing in nuances of modernity. 

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Along with their glittering low-waisted dresses, flappers in the 20s expressed themselves with makeup too. They turned to cosmetics to play up their femininity and to empower them as they entered the workplace. Powder, blush, eye shadow and lipstick came onto the scene, and with that, beauty culture was born.

Flapper beauty starts with a flawless, matte complexion. Women of the era chose to use powder makeup because it created a smooth, porcelain canvas with no shine. Skin wasn’t the focal point of beauty, the main attraction was to be the eyes and lips. To get an authentic look, start by applying concealer where needed. Then apply a powder that matches or is one shade lighter than your skin tone.

To finish your flapper skin, apply a pale pink blush to the apples of your cheeks. After the invention of the compact, ladies fell for peaches and pinks. These subtle hues gave them a hint of color while still letting the eyes and lips take center stage.

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To get the sultry yet soft eye look that Daisy Buchanan wore throughout the film, apply a charcoal grey eye shadow from the lash line to the brow, blending it horizontally from one corner of your eye to the other (think windshield wiper motion). This will create a round, feminine shape. Finish the eyes by using black liner and forming a subtle cateye, and top with heavy black mascara.

Complete your Great Gatsby makeup with the iconic 1920s cupid’s bow lip. Start by tracing your mouth with a deep liner, creating dramatic arcs to emphasize the curves in your upper lip. Fill in the area you’ve outlined with your favorite lipstick. Flappers flocked to deep reds, wines and plums, which provided a stark contrast to their fair complexions.

So sport your new look, kick your heels up and Charleston on over to see Gatsby; I promise you won’t be disappointed when it comes to beauty in any sense of the word.

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The Helpers

As someone who spent her undergraduate years on the East Coast, and left many friends behind there, the tragic events in Boston today were close to my heart. Bean Town is home to some of my best friends, and it’s a beautiful, proud city. It’s also quite small, so when news broke that there were explosions, it’s hard not to think of everyone you know there and where they are at that very moment.

One of my closest friends in Boston was one of the biggest proponents of this blog. She was not only supportive of me starting it, but getting back to it, which I’m doing now. I’d like to dedicate this post to her, in hopes that it can give her a smile today. Thank G-d she is OK. Thank G-d they’re all OK.

Not only was Lisanne there for me during all four years of college, but it continued after graduation although we’re now states apart. She is the first to ask me for my thoughts on products, lines and collections. She values my opinions and I hers. While some people may think certain subject matter here is superficial, this blog can hopefully provide some sort of escape when the world around us tries to rob us of our faith. Read a little, laugh a little, and maybe learn something new.

Amidst the sadness of today, let’s all try to remember the things that make us smile. For me today it wasn’t a lipstick, a blush or a blouse. It was knowing that my friends were safe.

Look for the Helpers

Legacy 1912 Titanic Fragrance

When James Cameron’s Titanic was originally released, I was 12. I saw it almost that many times in theatres. I wish I could say that my obsession with the film has waned, but that’s just not the case. On the contrary, it has only increased especially with the announcement that it will be back in theatres in 3D next month.

I’m thinking (and not-so-secretly hoping) that merchandising efforts will be through the roof in conjunction with this release. When Titanic came out in 1997, there were really just imitation Heart of the Ocean necklaces (of which I had two,) a few books, and magazines galore. I was in awe of Kate Winslet, her alabaster complexion, her fiery red hair and of course her entire wardrobe in the film. And who isn’t a sucker for an ill-fated love affair?

Before you all run to see the movie again in theatres, you may want to check out QVC. The network is featuring Legacy 1912 Titanic Fragrance this month. What is so unique about this product is that it’s inspired by perfume oils developed by Adolphe Saalfeld, a chemist who was traveling on the Titanic in hopes of developing a new line of perfumes. He survived, but his 65 samples were lost. The samples were recovered from miles beneath the ocean, and amazingly still contained their original fragrance.

I haven’t had the chance to smell the perfume, but it contains notes of lemon, neroli, rose and amber. Sounds vintage to me! Now if only one of the cosmetics lines would design a Titanic collection…

Fairy Lights vs. Pink Satin

In December I received what has turned out to be one of my favorite nail polishes, Butter London’s Fairy Lights. The color is so unique and unlike anything else I’ve seen…until now.

It’s a metallic baby pink that applies like a dream. Butter London nail polish is known for its broad color selection, smooth application and cheeky names. They put one out around the time that Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton and called it “No More Waity, Katie.” Cute.

I digress. The point of today’s post is to tell you about an inexpensive alternative to Fairy Lights if you don’t feel like shelling out $14 on nail polish, which is completely understandable. I was browsing the cosmetics section of my local Bed Bath and Beyond and happened upon a Sally Hansen nail polish that looked strikingly familiar.

The color is #425 Pink Satin, and is a dead on dupe for Fairy Lights. The color is the same, it goes on the nail the same, the finish is the same…the only detectable difference is the price tag. Where Butter London polish will cost you $14, the Sally Hansen version runs around $3-$4 depending where you purchase it. To sweeten the deal even more, there are usually manufacturers coupons as well as coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond. I got Pink Satin for a total of $2.30 after such coupons. Both polishes are 0.4 fluid oz. Time will tell in terms of wear and staying power, but at $2.30 Sally Hansen can’t be beat.

I’ve only seen this color at Bed Bath and Beyond so far, but I haven’t been on the lookout for it elsewhere. Butter London polish can be found at Ulta, Nordstrom or butterlondon.com. Sally Hansen is available at most drugstores as well as Target and the like.

In the photo below I alternated the colors on each nail. Sally Hansen’s Pink Satin is on my index and ring finger, while Butter London’s Fairy Lights is on my middle finger and pinky. There is no top or base coat applied as I wanted just the effect of the polishes themselves. What do you think?

Can you tell which color is on which nail?

Making the World a Prettier Place, One Face at a Time

In November of 1991 I was turning 5 years old. On this occasion I knew, with the help of my mom, that I needed to look my best. I watched my mother put on her makeup that evening, just as I did every day, meticulously placing each color and blending with care. Every movement was so elegant, so precise, that I knew there was something to what she was doing here. When she emerged, she had pouty lips, sculpted cheekbones, and fluttery lashes that made her hazel eyes stand out in any room.

I watched her glide around and remember thinking, I hope I look like that one day. Which is what brings us, my darlings, to the world of beauty. Each of us has a different path to it and a different point of view, but I trust that we all have a common goal: to look and feel beautiful. This is not about vanity, although it may be one of my greatest “sins.” It is about people’s innate need to feel desired. Women have been controlling the world of cosmetics since before Cleopatra, who was rumored to have used everything from castor oil to turpentine to keep her skin incomparably soft and supple.

Adoration of and infatuation with beauty is no new concept. What is new for us, thankfully, is a web-based community that allows women from around the world to give each other guidance, advice, encouragement, suggestions…the options and opportunities are endless. I am thrilled to take place in such a community, and would like to offer readers my opinions on all things beauty. While these are modern times, there is no reason to discount the hard work of women before us to incorporate glamour, femininity and poise into the every day. This inspiration may just be your ticket to escape monotony.  So throw on a new shade of lipstick, wing your eyeliner and go.

Not much has changed.