There are a few beauty products that I never leave the house without – earrings, tinted moisturizer, mascara, (a bra). Simply, without them, I feel naked or not the best version of myself. Lipstick has the transformative power to create an entire look. A fresh face with nothing but bright, red lipstick is still a statement. Even a swatch or smear of vibrant colors can be luxurious on an otherwise empty canvas.
Japanese lipstick advertisement, 1969. Very Mod.
Obviously, other women felt that lipstick was important, too. Its origins are over 5,000 years old in Mesopotamia. The ancient Egyptians were even willing to get themselves sick with pearlescent fish-scales as long as they could achieve a rosy hue. In 1770, a British law was proposed to the Parliament that a marriage should be annulled if the woman wore cosmetics before her wedding day. Scandalous! Today, the makeup is much more accepted. There are between 800 and 900 million lipsticks sold every year in the world.
Of all the bedrooms of the eighties, the nineties and even the aughts, none invited more jealously than that of Clarissa Darling. Covered in scrunchies, littered with hubcaps, and filled with folk art influences (red patchwork quilts, hand painted chairs, mosaic tile dresses, tchotchkes), it was the perfect teenage girl’s escape. Even better? The show was credited with becoming the first Nickelodeon series to feature a female lead.
Filmed in front of a live, studio audience. Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
The room was chaotic, and yet provided Clarissa the perfect amount of individual expression and zen. Boys were never allowed in, especially her little brother Ferguson (Ferg-Face). Dun dun dun. Exceptions were made for her platonic friend Sam, who would come in through the window to the sounds of a guitar riff.
Her bedroom had backsplashes of pink and floral wallpaper, the remnants of a girl’s princess room. Yet, Clarissa decided to live in a hand-painted, graffiti splattered, mishmash of stripes, checks and chili-pepper string lighting. As much a part of the show as Clarissa’s personality, thank goodness the set-design did not succumb to typical, feminine stereotypes.
Clarissa dealt with normal adolescent issues such as first crushes, getting a driver’s license, sibling rivalry, bullying, grades at school, insecurities, shoplifting, experimenting with drinking, and confronting the issues of a inquistive teenager yearning for independence. She even played a lot of her mental scenarios out on a joystick, creating one-off DOS computer games, or in squiggly pie-charts on a “fourth-wall” whiteboard.
Clarissa was, and still is COOL. She mentions liking They Might Be Giants, Pearl Jam, and The Violent Femmes. She loves photography, sometimes wears ironic hipster glasses, digs Keith Haring and openly admits to believing in UFOs. She even had a pet alligator named Elvis! I wish we could meet, and be friends, today.
To “tweens” from the early nineties, Clarissa is somewhat of a mythic, fairytale creature – the sister figure many never had. And how fitting, seeing as though the show’s creator, Mitchell Kriegman, named Clarissa “Darling” from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. That was Wendy’s last name.
Imagine yourself on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur,), sunning yourself along the Promenade des Anglais, under a wide-brimmed hat, while you sip a latte in a rattan armchair. Now mentally travel the hundred miles to Paris proper, sporting a striped shirt with the nonchalant elegance of Charlotte Gainsbourg, while imbibing un petit cafe.
My current obsession? The European woven cafe chair, the hallmark of the Parisian café life for over a century. The butts of Matisse, Stein, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sartre, Piaf and Picasso all sat in the romantic recliners. Each chair is a sculptural piece!
The chair was originally designed by Michael Thonet and introduced all the way back in 1859. Traditional French cafe furniture had its heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s, and often continue to be handcrafted by skilled artisans using techniques passed down from generation to generation. Somehow, the crispy geometric designs exist in a world that is simultaneously vintage yet, contemporary.
Look closely and you’ll notice the wonderfully organic marks created while bending and stretching the rattan into shape – a time-honored technique perfected by the French. A chic mix of navy and white makes it at home practically anywhere, even in the green grass!
A modern, calm and crisply white interior via EST Magazine via Decor8.A Martha’s Vineyard Cottage Dining Room by Schranghamer Design Group. The home is mere steps from the beach, and includes painted timber framing, antique windows, and views of the Atlantic Ocean. C’est magnifique!
By the end of this post you’ll be fluent in French! Passez une bonne journée, à la prochain! Ravi d’avoir fait ta connaissance.