Saturday, March 3, 2012

An Untwined Face

Rouge has been used as cheek color and to bring out the cheekbones since Ancient Egypt, where it was also used on the lips. It was considered a rather scandalous cosmetic in the Victorian era, but then most cosmetics were considered to be quite racy. And women wanted to look Pale and Delicate anyway, back then. As opposed to the model in this 1966 Revlon ad, who looks Beige and Pained.

Revlon's Blush On, the new incarnation of rouge, was invented in 1962 by Suzanne Grayson, according to a New York Magazine article in 1975 (link here). She was working for Revlon at the time, but by the 1970s had gone on to  preside over a New York boutique chain with the slightly Warholian name The Face Factory. The article describes her as wearing what sounds like about three facefuls of makeup including Poppycock blusher (of course) and , on her nails, something called, I kid you not, Momma Bare Nail Loving Color. You know, because you want to have hands that look just like a bear's paw. And a bear's claws.

But let's drag ourselves away from that stirring image and back to the Revlon ad, shall we?

I don't mind a bit of blusher or whatever, sometimes. However, the model in this wonderfully nutty ad doesn't appear to be wearing any. Oh wait, I see. She is slapping the Blush On on the side of her face we can't really see. Like the dark side of the moon. Apparently you are supposed to slap Blush On "all over your face (cheeks, chin, everyplace!)" Yes, that look that says I've been in a hot airless subway car for an hour. Very attractive.

And doesn't it looks like her shoulder and the curl of hair are the side of a beige sofa she is hiding behind. I really thought that was a sofa. Her shoulder looks odd, because you can't see her arm. It just looks like a big beige - side of a sofa.

You can look just like this!
Oh, and another thing: I realize that she is trying for a sultry, smoky look (or perhaps has so much sultry smoky eye makeup on that she can't unstick her eyes) but isn't the Blush On supposed to make her look perky and lively and - um - happy? Cheer up, Sultry Smoky Gal! The ad copy even says:

Suddenly you look untense, untired, untwined, terrific (Some people call it instant health!)*

Untwined? Do you really want to look and feel like a slightly used ball of string? Well, maybe. Just wait until the 1970s, Sultry Gal. Then you can look like as elegant and relaxed as a bear made over by Andy Warhol (no, I don't know what that means, either). Or keep on looking like unraveled twine. One or the other.

*And some of us call it instant coffee.


Pearl said...

This is one of the things I enjoy as I age: watching the progression of make-up. I think I've re-assessed just where the dang blush goes at least four times.

Keeps me fresh. :-)


Marcheline said...

Just thought you'd like to know... someone is selling VIRGINIA DARE drinking glasses on Etsy!

Thought of you immediately.

Kath said...

Love this line: 'that look that says I've been in a hot airless subway car for an hour. Very attractive.' - almost snorted my coffee!