Face Painting

I don't know about you, but before I buy something I put a lot of thought in to it.  As well as the usual magazines, ad campaigns and style icons, art inspires me greatly - especially when I am musing about fashion and makeup purchases.  

When I came upon this quote by Tom Ford in one of my favourite books, "Ads of the 20th Century - Fashion" published by Taschen, I felt like we were kindred spirits:

"Fashion is everything.  Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look - all those things go together to make a moment in time, and that's what excites me."

Inspiration swirls about in many forms and can influence you if you just let it.

Lately for me, it's been all about the French and how damned chic they are - in various ages, from past to present.  I blame my recent visit to the Louvre, heady with paintings of past French royalty and the ghosts of rustling silks, for my latest obsession with the perfect pink lipstick that would be fit for a queen.

Take, for example, the delicate hues in the paintings of the eighteenth century artist Joseph DuPlessis  (my relative through my mom's side, Joseph DuPlessis was known as the "King's Painter" and he did many of the portraits of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette as well as other members of the court and notables of the era including a very famous portrait of Ben Franklin, who was a popular American court figure at Versailles and a contemporary of Joseph DuPlessis.  You will be more familiar with his painting of Ben Franklin the next time you happen to look at an American $100 bill...) - the way he painted portraits of men and women was so natural.  The flushed cheeks and painted lips of the women especially are what stand out to me.  So, with that inspiration in mind I went on the prowl for a classic, creamy/matte pink lipstick the other evening.  I was searching for the perfect "undone" simplicity of shades of pink in lips and cheeks.  My muses are as follows...:

All paintings by Joseph-Siffred DuPlessis (French, 1725-1802) left to right:  Marie Antoinette Habsburg-Lorraine, so Dauphine, 1722, Portrait of the Comtesse d'Estavager, and Portrait de Marie-Antoinette

I found what I was looking for at the Tom Ford counter at Holt Renfrew.  Of course I did.  It's like the names of his products are plucked from the vellum pages of a torrid 18th century court novella. After experimenting with a few lipstick colours I settled on "Showgirl".   I touched up my blush with "Frantic Pink" which I decided to purchase as well since it gave me the exact candle lit and slightly hectic flush I was after - the perfect 18th Century portrait of a lady (or courtesan?) biting into a pink macaroon - Joseph would be proud.

Pick YOUR inspiration and moment in time and shop accordingly.  You might want to loosen your stays however. Though seemingly delicate, a pink palette is not for the fashion faint of heart.  Did someone say Dangerous Liaisons?

She's come undone...in a most charming way.