Black Lace in Tropics

If I were to name the best material for tropical clothing, I would be choosing between cotton, linen or silk, and I would be looking at it from the point of the comfort of wearing it in the heat and aesthetic. But, as I discovered, in the beginning of the last century there were serious debates in the Great Britain on that subject from the prospective of health and hygiene in tropical climates. People were writing serious articles in the Journal of Tropical Medicine arguing pros and cons of those fabrics that I mentioned above plus wool, about which I wouldn’t even think despite the existence of the term “tropical wool” (now I actually know what it means). The best color for tropical clothes was also widely discussed: wearing less heat-absorbing white/light colors was supported by one camp, while the other one advocated the idea of mimicking “black” skin (for the health reasons).

Also, it was interesting to learn that Burberry was producing and advertising clothes for working and traveling in the colonies, and that those weren’t cheap back then either.

Burberrys' Tropical Clothing Ad

From when I was a child, I knew that skin doesn’t “breathe” in clothes made from synthetic fiber (one of those wisdom that is passed from the older generation and usually isn’t questioned). A couple of years ago I had a chance to actually prove it to myself: as I was using a steamer on the clothes I had with me on a trip, I noticed how great it worked with my wool sweaters and my vSO’s cotton shirts but was completely useless for my blouse made of one of rayon’s variations.

It pains me to see that more and more summer clothes are produced from the synthetic or semi-synthetic materials. I understand that it’s cheaper than natural fabrics but how greedy are those companies that charge $100+ for a “summer” dress made of polyester?!

So why would I bring a black lace with me on my tropical vacation? I wouldn’t have if it hasn’t been … a lipstick.

Lipstick Queen Black Lace Rabbit

When I read about the upcoming release of Black Lace Rabbit, which was “playing on the idea of “going down a rabbit hole where nothing is what it seems” (a nod to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), I immediately felt drawn to it. And since I love Lipstick Queen‘s Hello Sailor (I’m finishing my second lipstick and plan to buy the third one), I ordered Black Lace Rabbit online without trying to find it in a store first.

In a tube Black Lace Rabbit looks solid black with golden flecks but on lips, unlike those cheap Halloween makeup lipsticks, Black Lace Rabbit is just a sheer and slightly shimmering tint – like a veil over the natural lip color. It seemed very appropriate for the tropical evening attire.

Lipstick Queen Black Lace Rabbit and Hello Sailor swatches

As I was taking pictures of Black Lace Rabbit, a perfectly color-coordinated with my photo session local cat visited our lanai. I think that with his third eye he perceived how much by that time in our vacation I was missing Rusty…

Maui Cat

Images: Burberrys’ ad – from the article referenced above; others – my own

WASH ‘EM CLEAN

Long Live Fluffy Towel
And Toothpowder
And Fragrant Soap
And Fine-toothed Comb!
Let’s wash and slosh,
Bathe, dive and tumble
In basins, in bathtubs,
In ocean and river,
Always and everywhere
Hurray for Water!

As an epigraph I used loosely translated closing verses of Moydodyr – the poem for children by Russian poet Korney Chukovsky published in 1923. Moydodyr (Wash’em’clean) is an anthropomorphic washstand, a self-proclaimed commander of other washstands and sponges, who teaches an untidy boy (and the readers) “the virtue of hygiene“.

Mojdodyir

I doubt that in my childhood there were too many kids who didn’t read that poem or watched the cartoon. As Wikipedia correctly states, “Moydodyr character became a symbol of cleanliness.” But I must say that for the country, several generations of which grew up on this poem, we were quite unwashed masses. I’ll spare you horror stories about hygiene norms and routines from those times: hopefully, many of those are left in the past. But I want to share some of the less detestable but rather peculiar memories. Soaps.

I don’t know how it was in early 20s when the poem was written, but by 80s books were probably the only source of fragrant soap. Soap produced in the USSR was mostly functional but not something that would bring joy to any of your senses: usually it was a rectangular bar of some undefined light color and, if you were lucky, a faint unpleasant scent. I suspect that my dislike of natural/organic/handmade soaps has a root in those childhood memories.

Soviet Fir Soap

In today’s economy whenever I read in a product’s description “Imported”, I immediately assume that it’s a euphemism for “Made in China” so in my mind it’s a disparaging attribute: had it been a “respectable” producer, it would have been named specifically – “Made in Germany/France/Italy/the U.S./etc.” Faceless “imported” usually means “a country where labor is cheap and quality is corresponding.” But when I was growing up that property had the opposite effect: it would immediately raise the status of the item. “Imported X” was universally considered of a better quality and more desirable than locally produced X. “Imported shoes”, “imported furniture” and “imported soap” are just a few examples. Usually it didn’t even matter from where those were imported (unless it was perfume, in which case it had to be French).

If anybody was lucky enough to get them, those fragrant, perfectly molded and beautifully packaged representatives of remote civilizations “imported” soaps would usually lead a life of leisure surrounded by the finest things… in underwear drawers staying there for years – until finally making a guest appearance in the bathroom. I mean, appearance for some special guests – and only after that fulfilling their utilitarian destiny.

The situation with soaps (and other imports) had significantly improved even before I left for the U.S. Camay, Palmolive, Nivea and dozens of other soap bar brands came into our lives and became something mundane and ordinary – just like it should be. And since I haven’t lived there for a long time, I don’t know if the next spiral of craziness (all-natural, artisan and such) has reached them already.

But even now and here it’s hard to get rid of old habits: almost three years have passed from the time Rusty and I demonstrated to you the wonderful linden-scented bar until I let the first drop of water touch it. It still smells nice but I think it dried out a little while waiting for its show time.

Linden Soap And Rusty

Amouage Dia soap ended up in my stash by chance: there was a closeout sale at the online store and I just couldn’t pass on a great deal. For the last couple of years I was trying to decide when the time would be right to start using it: it’s so luxurious that it felt wasteful to open it without a special occasion. Well… It’s still in its original cellophane.

Rusty and Amouage Dia

I wanted to see what Rusty thought of the Dia soap’s scent. I’m not positive but does it look to you like he’s trying to show me the proper way of cleaning myself without a soap?

In the Search for the Perfect Black Currant: P.S.

Do you read beauty blogs? I follow a couple of “mixed media” blogs (perfume + make-up) but compared to the amount of perfume-related sites I frequent you might say I don’t read them at all. Though maybe I should? Sometimes they prove to be very useful. But I’m running ahead of myself.

Last year while perfume shopping sniffing at Barney’s with Natalie (Another Perfume Blog), we stopped at a Lipstick Queen counter: I wanted to show her the Hello Sailor lipstick I featured in the In the Search for the Perfect Blackberry: P.S. post. I also secretly hoped to find Black Tie Optional gloss. Instead my attention was captured by their Chinatown glossy lip pencil in the shade Mystery.

Lipstick Queen Chinatown Mistery

My wallet was on its way out of the purse when Natalie stopped me and explained that for the money ($18 at the time) all I was getting was what you can see on the picture above. We spent some time trying to figure out if it had some hidden turning mechanism or something like that. Nope. It was a solid plastic tube with a relatively large but still not-enough-for-the-price gloss tip.

It was a reasonable thing to do so we left Barneys empty-handed though on the perfume side it was totally their fault: if I remember it correctly, they were out of either a size or a perfume Natalie wanted.

Months later, by mere chance, at Tinsel Creation I stumbled upon a review of another shade of that Chinatown lip pencil in which Jessica not only praised the quality of the gloss, but explained how good was the sharpener that came with the pencil.

The next time I happened to be at Barneys I re-confirmed with an SA that I could actually sharpen the pencil – and it went home with me.

Lipstick Queen Mistery, Hello Salor and Laura Mercier Black Orchid Swatches

With all other lipsticks I have in similar shades did I really need that lip gloss? You know the answer. Does it look like black currant? The tip of the pencil reminds a slightly unripe berry. On lips it’s a shimmering berry tint. But I enjoy how smoothly it glides, how easy it is to apply and how nice it looks on my lips. So I’m glad I read that post on a beauty blog.

Can you recommend any beauty blog that you follow and like?

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Blackberry: P.S.

 

As it often happens, while working on my blackberry Single Note Exploration post I had blackberries on my mind. I went through my database to find all the perfumes featuring that note; tested perfumes I had; sniffed, purchased and ate berries at the Farmers Market, abandoned my current phone for the BlackBerry Q10… Ok, this last one I was kidding. But you’ve got the picture.

So when in the ad that came from Ulta I saw that lipstick I just knew I had to have it!

Lipstick Queen Hello Sailor

Not only it was of a wonderfully weird color but also it had a funny fitting shade name – Hello Sailor. I do not usually shop at Ulta but I wanted that lipstick. After the completely blank stare from the first SA I found another one who heard about the Lipstick Queen brand but told me that only selected stores carried it.

So now I had not only to buy a lipstick untested but also paid for shipping it to me. I don’t make impulsive purchases, I didn’t know the brand and I don’t like Ulta. But I liked the color. And the name. So I decided to bite the bullet… only to find out that it was out of stock both at Ulta and brand’s sites and sold on eBay almost twice the price.

I would have probably paid that ridiculous price eventually but my procrastination helped: it came back to several online stores and I got it from Barney’s (with the free shipping!)

I don’t want you to think that I’m getting ready for this year’s Halloween: since it’s a lip stain the only place you see that dramatic color is in a tube. I have a fair skin so on my lips Hello Sailor looks like a slightly shimmering berry tint. It’s a nice lighter alternative to my favorite Black Orchid stick gloss from Laura Mercier.

Lipstick Queen Hello Sailor Swatches

For those who uses lipsticks (sorry to the rest): What was the strangest color or the most interesting lipstick name you came across or used?

 

Images: my own