Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of a time when women weren’t just women, they were the ultimate glamazons – wearing Versace and Alaia whilst they were photographed in a power suit, or a swimsuit, looking incredible with massive hair and perfect makeup (or at least Vogue would have us believe). It was the time when more was never enough and there was no such thing as excess. Models like Elle McPherson, Stephanie Seymour and Cindy Crawford had the bodies that women (and men) admired. They had boobs and hips and waists and muscles and looked like they could crush a small car without flinching. Or without crushing their Christian Lacroix taffeta ball gown in the meantime.
I love them because their faces encapsulate my youth – a time when my bedroom walls were plastered with their faces. Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington in Chanel in St Tropez. Claudia Schiffer’s tiny waist was clad in acid wash for Guess jeans and the lens of Ellen Von Unwerth, Cindy C cavorted on the beach for Herb Ritts and Arthur Elgort, and Elle McPherson was on the cover of Time. I loved them then because they were the ultimate in all that a woman could be – strong, and powerful and beautiful in an Amazonian but still attainable way. There was a wholesomeness to them, a girl next door quality that also promised a life beyond your wildest dreams. They were business women, who built empires and fortunes and offered a world where your wardrobe was Chanel and Gaultier, and you partied with Madonna at Gianni Versace’s mansion. They were the original superstars, the top models who reinvented the glamour of the celebrity world we know today.
Having been lucky enough to work with a lot of them whilst in London (Claudia, Yasmin Le Bon, Kate Moss, Elle McPherson, Kristen McNenamy), I can attest to the fact that getting older does not mean losing anything in any way. If anything, it’s about gaining – wisdom. Self knowledge and grace. And designers and advertisers are listening, as the original Supermodels speak to us in a way that a fourteen year old never can. Harpers Bazaar UK has five of the original Supers on their latest cover – and let me tell you, if I look anywhere near that good at forty five I won’t be complaining.
And now as we all grow older, and women my age look ahead to their middle thirties and beyond to their forties and even fifties, middle age is being completely reinvented by them too. They are still beautiful, and powerful, and strong. Their empires have grown and away from the camera they now helm massively successful businesses and prove that women can have children and fortunes and wealth and beauty. They provide a stunning antidote not only to traditional notions of what happens as you age, but also to the legions of undernourished teenagers that currently populate our magazines and runways. May the tide turn permanently and bring back real women. Maybe we can have a return to the ideal of the amazon woman from my girlhood, where women had power and strength and beauty and grace. Long live the Supermodels.
Here is a beautiful trailer from the 1991 film by Peter Lindbergh, simply entitled “Models”. The Supers at the height of their beauty: www.peterlindbergh.com/#FILMS/10
This is my favourite Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg song, and I just think she’s so beautiful in this video of them frolicking in Europe in the late ‘60’s. That whole period has got me riveted again – maybe it’s because it started cropping up again on the catwalks in the last spate of shows (thanks Pat and Guido!) or maybe it’s just because I’m sick, OH SO SICK of the 80’s now. Please put them away people, and give them a decent burial. They were great but leggings and Bananarama skirts have had their place in the sun again and it’s time to let them go. Forever, hopefully.
Jane was the quintessence of cool back in the day with her gorgeous natural beauty and her affair with her much older French lover, Serge Gainsbourg, one of the most admired artists of the time. Together they collaborated on many songs and films, the most controversial being the fabulous Je t’aime… Moi non plus. The French side of my family always call me Jane Birkin when I speak French, but that is sadly only to do with my terrible French accent, not my effortless cool and striking resemblance to the brunette beauty.
So this season I want long, beautiful hair and a natural radiant glow (with a little gap in my teeth), a groovy wardrobe of flares and just the perfect onionskin thin t-shirt. A bit like Jane really.
I’m having an oil moment (that sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) But it’s true, I am – I have fallen in love with not one but THREE facial oils, so I consider it my sworn duty as a beauty blogger to tell you all about them.
The first is from my Aussie wonderbrand favourite, Aesop – really is there anything that this brand can’t do? I have yet to try a dud product from them. It’s their Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil. It’s great for combination, sensitive and dry skin (which would certainly be myself), and has skin-calming properties combined with anti-oxidants.
Then there is also the latest addition to the Parsley Seed family, which is their new Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser (out this month). This one is a gel cleanser (that feels like an oil), but this one is special – it EXFOLIATES whilst it cleanses. How does it do that? I hear you ask (well even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you anyway), it combines a softly lathering gel cleanser with lactic acid to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin.
So as a pre-makeup cleanse for shoots and clients, it’s amazing as it gently stimulates blood flow, giving you the all-important GLOW. Yes, that GLOW, the one every makeup artist knows about as it’s what you strive to impart to someone’s skin before you start putting makeup on, since makeup going on a crusty, dry flakey surface just looks like ass, and makes your job much more difficult.
It probably seems pretty counter-intuitive to use oil to wash the face, but Japanese makeup artist Shu Uemura pioneered this in the late 1950’s when he realized that an oil cleanser effectively removed all traces of heavy makeup, whilst maintaining the delicate acid mantle of the skin. He created the Shu Uemura High Performance Cleansing Oil in the early 60’s, which is my second facial oil pick. I’ve had this in my kit for oooh, around 10 years now as it softens the skin and is miraculous at removing makeup. So now I have two oils to use – the Aesop for pre-makeup cleansing- for the GLOW, and Shu for afterwards for it’s makeup melting properties. (Especially when you’re on a job where the girl is wearing an extra head full of makeup, you need something with some serious grunt to take it off. I do love my Crealine but sometimes you just need the Makeup Removing Big Guns – that’s when my Shu comes into play).
And last, but by no means least, Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil. This has a different purpose – I use this sometimes on dry, dehydrated skin to perk it up and impart some serious moisture before starting the makeup. It can also be mixed into foundation to give it extra slip and shine – lovely when your skin is feeling the cold (ie the whole of the Northern hemisphere at the moment).
Jurlique is another favourite Aussie organic brand of mine, as their products are just plain yummy. This oil has biodynamic and organic Chamomile, Calendula, Marshamallow and Rose, and Rose Hip oil to give the skin elasticity.
Even in the heat of summer the skin can get dehydrated and can benefit from oils. However if your skin is very oily anyway I would advise using oils with caution – don’t discount them, but try a sample before you invest in them. Sometimes those with an oily finish to the skin actually have very dehydrated skin underneath (*cough* don’t ask me how I know that).
Oh I’m sorry, did someone say ROBOT MAKEUP FILM FOR CHANEL BY PETER PHILLIPS? Oh you did? Good Lord, I’ll have to check it out, sounds amazing!
And it is.
Happy Holidays to all my Wonderful MM Readers!
I can’t believe it’s that time of year again, when work stops, wine glasses come out (and don’t get put away again for at least a week), waistbands expand and calories don’t count – that’s right, it’s Christmas again.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for making Makeup Mole such a success this year, and such a joy to work on. Blogs really are a labour of love, and sometimes it feels like you’re flying high as it all rolls blissfully easily along, other times it really is like dragging an albatross around your neck (even if the albatross is wearing Chanel).
This year has been fantastic and I have you all to thank for your comments, your Tweets and questions, to all the wonderful bloggers I have met in person or online, and indeed many of you who I now count as friends. To all the makeup artists and other creatives that I’ve met and some who I’ve admired from afar who continually inspire me, to all the PRs who help with questions and images and to the brands who keep up a constant stream of product wonder and delight – you are all the people who keep me and Makeup Mole going. I look forward to a bigger, brighter, better 2011 filled with more makeup than ever before!
Thank you all and have a fantastic Christmas, a fun and prosperous New Year and see you all back in early Jan for more Makeup Mole.
Joyeux Noël !