Saturday, April 21, 2012

Inspired By Literature: Lewis Carroll

From the moment I began writing these Inspired by Literature posts I knew that Lewis Carroll would need to be featured at some point or another. Carroll singlehandedly created the story that perhaps most shaped my imagination as a child. Never mind the Disney version, I’m speaking about the true magic of the original book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The imagery, the characters and setting are all so fantastic that I always felt a sense of literary escapism as a child while reading Carroll’s most recognized work. What’s brought me back and interested me once more, and what inspired study and research during my time as a student is just how adult and political many of those characters are.

Though not in chronological order whatsoever I’ve chosen to open with one particularly identifiable product and one extremely identifiable scene from the book: Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia and "painting the roses red." I'm sure comparisons could be drawn between the need to make a white rose something that it is not and the constant search for a "dupe" of Cruel Gardenia.

Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia in a scene from Robert Ingpen's illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice is such a naïve character at the beginning of Carroll’s tale that I can’t help but think of her in terms of soft champagne shades and barely there pinks. Recreating the look and feel of the blonde haired, blue eyed Alice is as easy as applying soft, subtle shades like MAC’s All that Glitters and Chanel’s Boy to create the bright eyed, youthful appearance. 

(Clockwise from top right): Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Boy, MAC Lip Gloss The Lap of Luxury, Korres Jasmine Lip Butter, MAC Shadows in Soba, Moleskin, Hey, All that Glitters, Claire de Lune

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about this story, and what has attracted so many readers for generations, is the rich description and imagery. Though Wonderland could evoke any number of colors and textures, I took a cue from this wonderfully bright book and chose a selection of bold pink lipsticks fit for any flower garden Alice may have seen on her adventure. 

(From top to bottom): NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil Mexican Rose, Lancôme Rouge in Love Midnight Rose, MAC Girl About Town, YSL Glossy Stain Fuchsia Doré

And who can forget the Queen of Hearts, the eponymous character whose name alone evokes the image and feeling of bold, fearless blue based red? Deep shades such as Lipstick Queen’s Medieval, MAC’s Ruby Woo and NARS 413BLKR all emulate the feeling and attitude of the Queen herself. And Illamasqua’s Blush in Panic? Everything about this blush from the name to the color reminds me of the terror the Queen inflicts upon her poor subjects.
(From left to right): The Lipstick Queen Medieval, MAC Ruby Woo, NARS Larger Than Life gloss 413BLKR, Illamasqua Blush Panic 

No matter who or where you are I’d imagine you have some sort of connection or childhood association with this story. I’d love to hear your favorite excerpt, character or memory pertaining to this tale. Do you associate any cosmetic products you own with Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?