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Thursday 18 April 2013

Caterpillar brows experiment

As soon as I clamped eyes on the December 2012 British Vogue with its feature "Vogue goes POP: An explosion of fashion and fun" I knew I'd be going shopping for cosmetics for the first time in ages, perhaps years. Not having read a proper fashion magazine in as long, I clearly had a lot of catching up to do on my face. It was the eyebrows, you see, lovely caterpillars of seafoam green and papaya on a couple of the models. I HAD TO HAVE THEM, and have them I did.

I have always been interested in image and its impact on how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. As some of you may know, I admire American artist Cindy Sherman, whose photographic works of herself in guises of every description are an exploration of these same questions.

For me, dressing is a dance of masking and revealing. Now that I have loaded up with new cosmetics, makeup is also part of my little life polka.

I call this high-brow exploration CATERPILLAR BROWS.

Top left: Neutral; Top right: Look, I'm Cindy Sherman!
Middle left: Super-silly-us; Middle right: I'll pray for you, dahlings.
Bottom left: "???"; Bottom right: "Oh, Poirot, I've lost my poodle in the Nile. Can you find it?"

None of the characters/looks above were thought out - they grew as my shoot progressed. I chose to work with my big groovy hat, sequin tube top, colourful scarf, and peach peignoir (the former all thrifted), and a red wool hat, gift. The white knit top, very tattered but comfy, and grey T-shirt underneath are fine examples of my home schlep-wear (say that five times very fast).

It was hard not to do faces with this look.

Second row left: Ms. Bean-Bagg or Ms. Bagg o' Beans
Mr. Bean and Ms. Bagg tie the knot. Won't our children look gawjus?

The eyebrows are MAC chromacake, blue and yellow mixed. The eyeshadow is yellow cake with a sprinkling of glitter, which I completely love, then a little, rather, a lot of dusting of blush on the cheeks. Finally, MAC Yum-Yum matte pink lipstick with liner and lots and lots of mascara on my upper lashes.

I wore this exact cosmetic look on my inspiration walk downtown a couple of times last week, minus the bright red cheeks. Then on another day I did my brows in papaya. I also wore the big hat downtown, stuffed with the scarf to keep it from falling over my eyes.

Oddly, this look in public did not make me feel clownish in the least. Sometimes I even forgot that I had green eyebrows and glitter yellow eyelids. But there was no escaping how swell I was feeling. I'm surprised those little brow worms didn't turn into butterflies and fly straight away.

Have you been thinking of mixing up your cosmetic palette? Would you try this in your free time?


  1. Me likey!
    You are ROCKIN those caterpillar eyes. One day I'm gonna do me some of those!!!

  2. This look is something I would definitely love to try!!! Your experiment is awesome and I love the eyeshadows and every single pose! My favourite is Cindy Sherman (the whole photoshoot reminds me of her work!) and the 'I've lost my poodle in the Nile'one, the sequins top as a hat is wonderful!!

  3. You def put me in mind of Cindy Sherman ( I adore her work too). Great photos! I don't know if my workplace (mental health center) will permit the brows, but I may try the lips xoxoxo

  4. Forget the eyebrows, that's pretty much my daily make-up anyway. xxx

  5. Here I thought my brows were extravagant - Melanie, I love you! These speak to me of a particular kind of caterpillar: Manduca sexta, a.k.a. hornworm. With pollen lids! Botanical perfection!!! I'll be pupating all day.

  6. I love ALL the make-up! I think the yellow eyeshadow is my favorite part. Is that MAC, too?
    The photo series is just too amazing.
    You always look pretty, even making faces!
    Becky :)

  7. I'm stuck in using makeup in the same way everyday so I should take lessons from you.

  8. You're either a fashion genius or that crazy woman down the street(or both)

  9. You know, I think it's just not me. I would put green on the lips and red on the brows though, and maybe yellow on the cheeks. And I would wear that hat!!!

    But I just love the faces! In Britain they use the word gurning - do you know that word? Try as you might, you still look beyooootiful!

  10. I bow at your awesomeness!! I love your faces--the poodle one is my fav!!

    I'm needing to get a new eyeliner pencil and you've inspired me to ditch the boring black or brown and go for some COLOR!!

  11. I had to wait until I was finished goggling at the hat before I noticed the makeup - that is one ultracool lid. I like the marigold eyeshadow a lot, but eyeshadow never stays on my eyelids, even with primer. I'm kinda loving the turqoise brows though; now that mine seem to be disappearing, perhaps a bold colour is the way to go...hmmmm

  12. Did M. Poirot find your poodle? I do hope so...
    I love it when you experiment and do close-up photos, Melanie - your previous wigging out and lip tomfoolery made me laugh, and made me ponder as well.
    I don't play with makeup, at all. It barely seems to show up on my face, and slides off after an hour or so, so apart from the basics, I don't bother. Perhaps I need products with stronger pigmentation... I dunno, I'm not much good at make-up. I do like false eyelashes though, you should try some of those too!
    Green eyebrows? Why not? the yellow eyeshadow is fabulous. Your expressions are the work of a genius.
    I might try something more experimental for Vogoff - you never know! xxx

  13. Fun, fun, fun Melanie. You've given me some food for thought. My brows are so fair, and they are the feature that I actually spend the most time on when I put make-up on. Trying to get some colour on them that looks natural. And after all the effort, what do I have? A darker blonde eyebrow. Meh...boring. I will try this. Whether I wear it out remains to be seen, but I'll let you know.

    Sue xo

  14. i love it. i never wear make up but your post has given me some insight and i think i shall try. i like the new look you have for you blog. and as always i love your style. love lucy

  15. Who's to say this isn't completely normal? I'm old enough to remember blue eye shadow and white frosted lips. Why shouldn't our eyebrows match our eyes? You are a gorgeous creature. I am inspired to pull out the paint kit.

  16. I am fecking LOVING this!!!
    Hell YES, I would try this in my free time!!! Such a gloriarse example of how makeup really is just paint!!! You've approached the use of it with gay abandon and I LOVE it!!!! Awesome colours, the yellow just makes those gorgeous eyes POP! Heavenly. Truly HEAVENLY!!!

  17. Yippee - I just noticed I am on your blog roll, thank you so much!

    You are brave woman, with your caterpillar eyebrows. Would I try it? H**l no.

    When Mr. VZ saw me with the doll's dress plopped atop my head for the Vogoff photo shoot, he said, "NOW WHAT?"

  18. This looks like so much fun! I wish my skin didn't despise anything and everything touching it. I used to love to play with eyeliner. Not just across my lids. Not only in black, but beautiful bright colors. Hot topic used to carry such brilliant soft eyeliner. I miss it!

  19. I burst out laughing (in a GOOD way!) at first glance! I just loves me some fuzzy caterpillars...

  20. I love it you look like comic book character!

  21. AMAZING BROW ACTION! I love it! You know how to Vogue it, Mel, wonderful Shermanesque fun!

  22. I think I'm going to have to try the whole photo shoot thing, with different looks. I'm absolutely bored to death with "ME", who ever that is. I adore your colorful iterations and wish I could've been sashaying down the street with you.

    I managed to grab a little time to go thrifting today, and I swear every other minute I was thinking, "Oh!! Melanie would look so good in this!! I wonder how she would style it?"

    LOVE YOU!!

  23. oh this is has given me a whole load of ideas to do with my now boring-nothing-much-to-do-life! who knows this will be the new normal!

  24. If I wore that look here, I'd get locked up! But YOU my dear lady, rock it so hard!! I love it!!

  25. Oh I love the caterpillar eyebrows.....You must do blue for the alice in wonderland effect. I love the photograph of you with the shawl head scarf very "Grey gardens".
    Have a scrumptious weekend Melanie.
    love V

  26. As soon as I saw this I thought you'd love my friend Paul -
    he's been doing turquoise brows for ages - longer than Vogue, I'm sure they copied him. I haven't seen this article but I bet you look even better than the models! You suit papaya and seafoam. Perhaps try it on your hair next? These photos are a work of art xxx

  27. I love Cindy Sherman and her playful explorations of identity, adornment and costume. I'm sure that she would most heartily approve of your eyebrow ensemble (is that a phrase? Can we make it a phrase?)
    It's fascinating seeing how changing one aspect of your appearance affects both other people's perceptions, and the way you view yourself. I particularly enjoyed the sequin hatted incarnation, along with the first shot in which your oh so exuberant make-up juxtaposes brilliantly with the simplicity of your clothing.
    Right, shall stop rambling and analysing. But this is brilliant, truly brilliant.

  28. Those colours go nicely with your eyes :)

  29. I have to say you make green eyebrows seem very appealing Melanie, on you they look amazing. I used to play about with makeup a lot, I'd put the kids in the bath and then play away in the bathroom mirror, but then I'd clean it all off before I went out. Some of these photos would make such beautiful paintings I think, you look very angelic in the Poirot one. xx

  30. I love these photos! So inspiring, you're a real artist! Makes me want to do lots of experiments too.
    My make up is rather simple most of the time, I should add more colour to it!

  31. You are too crazy for words girl!

    Love and hugs

    Ariane xxxx

  32. Brilliant, wish I had your boldness! I love.make up as I have the kind of face that agrees with it I think, also it is my armour and makes me feel more confident , a cliche but true. Will never tire of my 60s eyeliner flick and love turquoise and glitter on upper lids . You are a true chameleon x

  33. Okay, you made me laugh. Not because you're not utterly gorgeous, but because you're still gorgeous even when you're making faces.

    I am so behind on fashion trends. I confess I don't read many magazines (except yours of course). I am fascinated by your eyebrows, and want to know how you did them, but then of course there's Google, and I will satisfy my hunger for advance knowledge in eyebrows.

  34. I am utterly speechless! But that is often how I find myself after I read your blog! LOL. Melanie, you are just too much! But please stay just as you are!!! I love it!! xoxo Lynn Dylan

    PS -- I love the prior David Bowie post too! You look lovely!! Truly!

  35. Oh I am SO late to this fabulous party... I LOOOOOOVE IT! YOU, of course, look AMAZING. I would love to try coloured eyebrows but as I am a fringe dweller, who would see them but the inside of my fringe, who cares not for the colour of my brows.

    You always rock.

    Sarah xxx

  36. I do love your choices of make up, but the big groovy hat is what caught my adoring attention. Of course because it's sitting on your head! Those who saw you on your inspiration walk were honored by your presence, I am sure.

  37. You're mad woman ... that's why I just love reading your blog!! Fab-u-lous! M x

  38. CRACK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have missed so many posts. MY LOSS!

  39. You are so much fun! You look very Suessical in these photos and that is a compliment by the way.


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