Okay, so makeup has always been my favorite toy (well, since I was allowed to use it at all). Even in high school I was trying to cop celebrity faces from big glossy photos (TEO, do you remember me painting a lousy beauty mark on my face, then calling you and hollering, "I am MARILYN!"?), and dreaming of being a big old glamourpuss.
Thank goodness for the eighties. For that decade which foisted upon us pink acetate lame' also gave me the chance to think, at last, I *was* a glam goddess. It opened up the door for people to indulge in costuming more extreme than was common for people of limited means through most centuries. Ahh, it gave us Lestat and Poison and all those hair boys I used to (heh - used to) love, and makeup makeup makeup. Magenta, fuschia makeup. Lovely, lovely.
I spent years perfecting my complexion, perfectly even eyeliner, lipstick it would have been an embarrassment to go around pooching. Just the right, mile-long eyebrows. Marathon waterproof mascara. Shine Free cover (I hated seeing that discontinue, when it did; finding new products to replace beloved old ones is the bane of every face-goop-lover). Oh, yes, purple eyeshadow. I did purple eyeshadow - of course I did! We all did. (It's those of us who thought to stop who don't look quite like relics ...)
The eighties were my season of technique - finding all the ways to obliterate each flaw. I used foundation, cover, and pure white Johnson and Johnson baby powder; it was the smoothest possible finish by FAR. I wore full-face makeup every day, even to work.
The nineties were, toward the end, a little more about flexibility. I discovered that I can wear RED. Beautiful, stupid, screaming, true red. I subdued the blues and purples on my eyes, retreating to taupe for day, smoke - or "nude" lids - for night. The nineties were for me, as for most of us goop-ophiles, about the lips. Uber-dark, or garishly, dragon-lady red. The only options.
It was early in the aughts I met Mr. X. And X is the first man I have ever met who reveled in the details I so loved to play with as much as I loved to refine and play with them. He responded to my clothes, my makeup (my hair). He loved the different characters of my look - soft, showy, "dark" - confident. He loved that I wasn't hiding behind paints, but using them to play up different things for every given situation.
He especially liked "dark" - I was halfway into my thirties by the time I met him, but he first brought out the goth nerd in me. Oh, and such a great nerdly-dom for a girl like me, whose favorite toy is eyeliner. Is color, or lack of it. Is unexpected detail.
And so, extreme makeups. I started to go beyond doing things perfectly, into doing things *differently* - unexpected ideas. I'd grown up surrounded by punk girls, who loved my fair skin and asked me how I got it. This had influenced me early to stay out of the sun - and at forty-two, I still have a decent pallette to work on, a starting surface with interesting potential.
It's funny how hard it can be to find "extreme" inspiration, though. Years back, I bought Kevyn Aucoin's lovely tome of celebrities turned into other celebrities, or fanciful characters. His mother as Marlene Dietrich, Gina Gershon as Sophia Loren, Martha Stewart positively amazingly unrecognizeable. Liza Minelli as Marilyn herself (hee ... I still believe my cop was a bit better ...). I have another book from Nars, too. I've clipped pics of Clara Bow and others for Hallowe'en costumes, or just because. I've collected images online, and this is even a part of the reason for my interest in ANTM. Amazingly, this is one of the best sources for extreme makeup inspiration (over a year's worth of American Vogue certainly disappointed on this front to a great and frankly surprising degree). They do ridiculous stuff, but it can be co-opted.
Take the time they put bald caps on the girls and pasted Swarovski crystals in patterns on their faces. Awesome! I can skip the bald aspect of things, but have used these crystals time and again now. Easy-peasy, high-impact, and tons of fun. I used a red one, I think, for my "lip piercing" when I went as Amy Winehouse for Christmas a few years back. I have lined my eyebrow, and cheekbone, and the inner corners of my eyes with various colors of them. They are too fun.
The little "bubbles" from my Carnivale photo.
The silver mask I painted on for a "masquerade party" one year at New Year's Eve, when I didn't have a good mask of my own.
The white liner, the underdrawn lips, the false lashes, the different colors. I did Clara Bow so well that first year my aunt swore the pics weren't of ME. Ahh, wigs, ponyfalls, that little Barbara Feldman number. Mmm, the fun I've had with vintage hair. Victory Rolls! What could be more fun? (And I'm still looking for my excuse for them; my skimmer "clip on hat" from Hallowe'en prevented the sculpting!)
But search "extreme makeup" and what you get mostly is bright colors, but applications of the most traditional sort. Done well, to be sure, but unwearable in most circumstances - just for a photograph. How dull! I want to be able to go OUT looking like a nutbar. Purple and yellow just isn't sufficient "extremity", in my mind, for the wildest makeup. Little liquid-eyeliner curliques are pretty and all, but not exactly crazy time.
I love looking at crazy eyes (the eyes have it, mostly, for your whacko cosmetic efforts). They just seem to be harder to find than you'd expect.
Stay tuned. Daft photos will follow.
11 hours ago