Going for bold
It was author Susan Sontag who wrote in her famous 1964 essay Notes on Camp, "I am strongly drawn to Camp, and almost as strongly offended by it. That is why I want to talk about it, and why I can." Now, I don't want to speak ill of the dead here and I totally get why she'd want to talk about the aesthetics of camp, but I'm still not sure of the meaning behind the last bit: "why I can". Ill-formed judgments of lesbian feminist intellectuals aside, I think I can say the same of bright lipstick and, in particular, bright pink and orange lipstick, for, since they swung back into fashion 18 months ago, they have both attracted and repelled me.
Maybe it's because I have dark hair and the skin tone of luncheon meat, and bright lipstick, unless it's red, needs a backdrop of olive-toned skin and/or blonde hair to really sing. Although I'm sure Marc Jacobs (a man who has practically patented camp for himself) would disagree with me. That is, if we were talking, you know, casually, about his diffusion line, the Marc by Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2011 collection, in which the models donned espadrilles and flippy skirts with bikinis, too-cute jumpsuits and, on their perfectly formed mouths, bright orange lipstick.
Maybe Marc and I are conversing in the West Village somewhere and he's wearing that famous skirt of his - who knows? And after he disagrees with me, I gingerly touch his forearm as if to say, "No hard feelings" and then he probably looks down at my hand on his arm, raises his well-manicured eyebrow and gives me a look that says, "I don't mean to be rude but you're freaking me out" and then, I'd quickly retract it, as if I'd just touched a hotplate. A shaming, designer genius hotplate, if you will.
See? I'm easily frightened, but if you're brave or fashionable or both you might try this look. It's a slightly kitsch - and camp - yet feminine statement.
Begin by applying a light foundation. It should look as sheer and shiny as possible because the lipstick is matte and you don't want to look like an ageing drag queen. I recommend Chanel's Sheer Illuminating Fluid, which is so light it might as well be a tinted moisturiser.
Some experts recommend darkening your brow in order to frame your face but, again, this may have RuPaul results. Mascara is mandatory, of course, but that should be about the limits of your eye make-up. Clinique's Long-Wearing Formula is perfect as it doesn't flake or smudge. A teeny amount of blush should be all that your cheeks require so that your mouth is really the star of the show.
If orange freaks you out, you can start with pink or red and dab on a bit of orange to ease your way into it. At left are a handful to choose from. Be sure to blot well and voila, darhling, you're done.