Sunday, November 18, 2012

Inspired By Literature: Daphne DuMaurier

 "It was a cold grey day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o'clock in the afternoon the pallour of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four."
Though you may not believe it, I've just written the passage above from memory. As odd a novel as it is to hold so close to my heart, Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier will always be one of my absolute favorite stories. As a child I listened to books on tape as I fell asleep and for whatever reason this tale of smuggling, violence and unspeakable sadness truly resonated with me. It was not long after I fell in love with Jamaica Inn that DuMaurier's better known novel Rebecca became a fast favorite. I fell in love with the film version in which Laurence Olivier stars as Maxim DeWinter an on screen childhood crush that is now made troubling by two things: the fact that Maxim was a very haunted, troubled man ... and the fact that my husband's name is Max.

Though the cosmetics featured below are inspired by DuMaurier's literature, I've selected relatively few items. As far as I'm concerned DuMaurier was an author capable of doing very much with very little. Her descriptions of characters and settings are absolutely beautiful and paint a vivid picture while managing to be to the point and simple. Despite her immense popularity in the 1930s and early 1940s, Daphne DuMaurier is less talked about as other authors of her time period eclipsed a chance at modern popularity.


Though many of DuMaurier's tales took place in what would have been contemporary England, I most associate the bleak and desolate tones of the moors with her work. Particularly given the time of year described in the passage above (and below if you're reading the text on the page photographed with the eye shadows) deep browns and steel grey tones seem emblematic of the landscape.

(Left to right): MAC Shadows in Sketch, Moleskin, Copperplate, Bateau


I've featured Tom Ford's lipsticks in Wild Ginger and Black Orchid more for symbolic purposes than anything else. Many of DuMaurier's novels feature powerful almost domineering characters. If you've read Jamaica Inn you will of course be familiar with the violent Joss Merlin. Those who have enjoyed Rebecca won't be able to forget Mrs. Danvers nor the namesake for the novel itself, a character so powerful that she never actually appears in person. These bold lipsticks stand in the place of these powerful characters that make DuMaurier's novels so bewitching.


If you haven't read any of Daphne DuMaurier's bewitching novels I highly recommend that you do, particularly at this time of year. Though well crafted and complex, the stories are light reads perfectly suited to a cozy Sunday afternoon. Despite its simplicity, I've been captivated by Jamaica Inn for much of my life and constantly find myself discovering new things about the novel as I experience more of what life has to offer. I believe this is a testament to the quality of DuMaurier's work.

Have you read any of Daphne DuMaurier's novels? Which is your favorite?