Archive for the beauty Category

Fashion Inspiration: Aeon Flux

Posted in beauty, Clothes, Fashion with tags , , , , on November 30, 2011 by vprime

I’ve mentioned how much this show influenced me many times before. I love everything about this cartoon. Aeon’s an amazing, nearly posthuman, cyberpunk heroine. Her motives are shadowy, her missions often sinister, she doesn’t seem to be working for anyone so much as she’s an agent of anarchy.  Aeon is essentially chaotic neutral, switching sides and allegiances whenever it suits her needs. The look of the animation is slick, angular, both futuristic and retro. I made up a styleboard inspired by Aeon that’s less an attempt to copy her clothing exactly than a look inspired by all her outfits.
Starting in the upper left corner, I’ve chosen shiny suspender leggings by Black Milk. Strappy, black and slick are what I think of in regards to Aeon’s wardrobe. Just to the right we have a strappy pleather vest from Topshop. In the upper right corner, bright red lipstick. This lipstick in “Retrofuturist” by Lime Crime and several coats of waterproof (fly-trapping) mascara should be all the makeup you need. Just under the lipstick is a strappy harness bustier top by Topshop. In the lower left, a metal cuff by Gothic Punk Specialty Hardware. Many of Aeon’s outfits incorporate small metal plates or buckles, but not in an Edward Scissorhands-profusion. This cuff reminds me of the metal knee pads Aeon wears here:

You’ll need a pair of boots. Something I always appreciated about Aeon Flux is that she doesn’t run around in ridiculous heels (the metal-and-leather chastity thong is something else entirely) but sensibly wears flat boots. These boots by Nine West have a slight wedge heel and a futuristic mix of patent and matte material. Here is a better image of the boots:

The last thing you’ll need is an angled bob, lots of super-hold hairspray and a metric ton of bullets. For more detail on the products I chose and where you may purchase them, click on the styleboard image.

Music for a Monday: Peter Murphy

Posted in beauty, Culture, Music with tags , , , , on October 24, 2011 by vprime

The Cold One himself has a new release out now. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I was fortunate to see him play live not too long ago. It seems I’ll miss his show this year, even though it falls just about on my birthday. I’ve been thinking about how I’ll have to miss this show, and of course all I’m wanting to hear right now is Peter Murphy.

Murphy was always very influenced by Bowie. He was like Bowie’s starveling shadow in the film The Hunger, singing Bela Lugosi’s Dead from behind a chainlink fence. Not quite as controlled and refined as Bowie, there was always an added element of theatricality and punk savagery in Peter Murphy. Listen to “Stigmata Martyr” for an example of what I mean. It’s difficult to imagine Bowie wailing in this possessed way:

Murphy’s androgynous Apollonian appeal even earned him a spot as the silent spokesmodel for Maxell audio tapes:

I understand Murphy has come full circle now to play a vampire himself in one of the Twilight movies. That might–almost–move me to watch one. Almost. Bauhaus in The Hunger:

But why wade through sullen teens when you can have a pure shot of ol’ Indigo Eyes? Let us bask in the voice, the cheekbones, the pick-the-cabbage-kick-the-cabbage dance:

Official Peter Murphy site.


Holo-Moon Manicure

Posted in beauty, Fashion, Jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2011 by vprime

I wanted to get some pictures of my staggering collection of huge, flashy rings. The two things I really need to stop acquiring are boots and rings. It’s like I’m a dragon with these things, just gathering up a pile of them that I can settle onto and lord over. Once upon a time I had a ring for every finger and insisted on wearing them all at once. Having several crushed rings cut off my hand with wire-cutters in a Borders cafe cured me of that habit. Some of these rings are almost too heavy to really wear. They have a tendency to drop off my fingers at inopportune moments.

My pictures were mostly not great, but as I actually had presentable nails at the time too, I’ll call it a win.  This one in the middle with the huge skull is one I found on Ebay recently. It is heavy. I will wear it on my date with Sauron.

The big black one on my index finger is plastic, but it’s big, and black. I think it came from Target. The purple crystal I don’t even remember where that came from. The tiny pinkie finger ring came from Las Vegas. I should mention, if it isn’t clear from the pictures, that my hands are tiny. I mean, baby monkey tiny. Also, I’m not as orange as I look here. Late afternoon light, weird reflections from the color of the walls.

The filigree one on my index finger is hinged. That came from Ebay. The one in the middle is labradorite. The rose is plastic. On the left hand is a triple-finger ring that just sort of binds your fingers into a flipper.

Left hand, left to right: purple dichroic glass, giant heavy silver thing that looks like it fell off a spaceship, “mystic” topaz–this is an iridescent coating that’s applied to semi-precious stones that turns them into insane pony acid-trip rocks. There are colors this thing throws off that we haven’t even named yet, maaaaaaaan. Right hand: Kind of like half a Deathstar that’s been bejewelled, some lavender cubic zirconia, big silver rectangular dome that I’ve had forever and has turned a gunmetal like color due to oxidation. I don’t have time to polish silver. That what I’ve summoned the Unspeakable Things from the Pit for.

More of the same.

And again.

Here are my nails. I see this moon manicure thing has become all the 23 skidoo with the co-eds these days. Here is my first attempt at it. I used a holographic silver for the “moon” and a deep grey creme for the rest. The camera didn’t pick up the light-reflective power of the silver holographic polish, but in full sun it’s iridescent.

I used some polish guides to make the initial moon shape. After applying the dark grey, I went back over the moon with more silver holographic polish and a tiny brush. It went well, considering I’m usually rubbish at doing my own nails. I coated it all in two layers of clear polish.

Here is my kitty, trying to escape the petting.

I’m still hacking away at the post on melancholy, attempting to finish and post it before the end of the week.

Thanks for reading.

Review: Gorilla Perfume [Part II]

Posted in beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2011 by vprime

Karma, Imogen Rose, Orange Blossom and The Breath of God

I would really love to know more about how patchouli oil came to be associated with goths and hippies. If anyone can enlighten me on this subject, please do comment. Karma is certainly on the hippie side of the patchouli equation. It includes notes of pine and orange. I normally ignore distinctions between “masculine” and “feminine” scents, but this just smells like something more suited to a male type person. If you’ve never smelled Karma, the pine and orange lighten up the patchouli a bit without losing the earthiness of the scent. This dries down to a very piney scent on me. Smells like it would be great in a floor detergent, but not on my wrist.

Imogen Rose is a powdery floral that contains mainly rose notes. Rose is a wonderful scent in theory. In practice, rose perfume often smells like it belongs on a elderly lady or a girl. Perhaps this is just my prejudice. Imogen Rose is soft and light. Rose often goes awry on me, but this one didn’t. It dries down to a baby-powder scent that is inoffensive. Overall, this fragrance was okay, but not surprising. It may work better on others, but I have no interest in wearing it again.

Orange Blossom smells exactly as it’s named. I live in Florida, so orange blossom is a common fragrance here. This scent starts very sweet and dries down to a subtle woody-citrus note. Like Imogen Rose , this scent is floral without being overwhelming. It’s light enough to be bearable in close quarters. It has perhaps less fresh citrus notes than I might have liked, but then orange blossoms do smell very different from oranges themselves. This scent was nice, but not impressive. I just couldn’t see any future situation in which I’d want to reach for this. Like the previous two perfumes, I was fairly indifferent to this.

The Breath of God is like a huge exhalation of cedar. God’s mouth must be so free from moths. This was the only perfume out of the bunch that I actively disliked. The Lush website describes this as “intensely medicinal,” a phrase that makes me expect camphor, mint or bitter notes. All I get is overwhelming cedar. I had to wash this off my wrists because it was giving me a headache. I was excited for the smokiness promised in the fragrance description, but I couldn’t detect any. There may be people for whom this fragrance is wonderful. I am not one.

The last four fragrances in the sample batch were not ones I would purchase. I am, however, looking forward to sampling Dirty and The Scent of Weather Turning. Mint and ozone are my eternal fragrance quests.

Visit Gorilla Perfume at Lush.

Review: Gorilla Perfume [part I]

Posted in beauty on March 21, 2011 by vprime

I first got turned on to Lush by the ladies of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab forums before I became more or less a total internet recluse. I’ve been hooked on their hippie smells for years now, and I was delighted to hear they were coming out with their own line of fragrances. If they could bottle the smell of the Lush shop, I’d apply it with a firehose. They currently have a sampler of the Gorilla Perfumes in what looks like an oversized matchbox. The scents included are Imogen Rose, Orange Blossom, Lust, Tuca Tuca, Karma, Breath of God, Vanillary and The Smell of Freedom.

So far, I’ve tried Lust, Tuca Tuca, Vanillary and The Smell of Freedom.  Lust is a sweet jasmine concoction that has  vanilla notes.  The house I grew up in had a huge jasmine plant that bloomed at night. Lust is like that  on a warm night. If you’ve experienced Flying Fox , then the heavy jasmine fragrance will be familiar. I wanted to like Tuca Tuca so much. I think violet is always better in my mind than in reality. The best violet scent I’ve encountered is BPAL’s Ultraviolet, and honestly that may be due to the mint. I love mint like a vampire loves capes. Like Lush’s DaddyO shampoo, the violet here ends up smelling a lot like Play Doh to me. Why do I have that association?  Vanillary smells a lot like the jar of raw sugar and vanilla beans I keep in the kitchen (great on strawberries). The vanilla isn’t too sweet. Tonka bean keeps the scent anchored  with a smoky base. I liked this one much more than I expected to. The Smell of Freedom  hits one of my favorite notes: sandalwood. There’s a woodsy note that isn’t too spicy or overpowering, as well as a lemon or citrus note.  I like a light woodsy or herbal fragrance. I keep sniffing my wrist when I wore this. This is one I’d consider buying in the full-sized bottle.

The perfume vials have a rubber stopper with tiny holes to allow the perfume application. None of my vials have leaked. I appreciated that they made the vials spill-proof. For about $20, I thought this was a good value. The scents in the vials are stronger and longer lasting than the solid perfume sticks.

Up next: Karma, Imogen Rose, Orange Blossom and The Breath of God

Visit Gorilla Perfume at Lush USA.

Tokyo Milk Review

Posted in beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by vprime

Clove Cigarette Lip Elixir
Tainted Love No. 62

The best thing about clove cigarettes was the taste that lingered on your lips after you’d take a drag. Sweet, spicy and heavily fragranced, clove cigarette smoke sunk into your lungs with languid, oily ease. Regular cigarettes always tasted thin, metallic or antiseptic. I haven’t had a clove in almost two years, but I pause to take a deep breath when I catch a hint of that familiar burning sweet scent. Tokyo Milk’s Clove Cigarette Lip Elixir tastes like the sweet residue of a clove cigarette without a strong smoky component. The tin is huge, at least twice as large as I expected. The balm itself is pliable and silky. It takes just as few swipes with the finger to have enough elixir to cover your lips. I found the elixir kept my lips soft and moisturized without leaving behind any waxy residue. The flavor tends to mellow after ten minutes. All I taste is the clove, though there is a slightly cinamonny note here. The only critical remark I can make right now is that the clove taste isn’t balanced with a hint of smokiness, but, perhaps that’s for the best.

Tainted Love does have some common ground with Dead Sexy. Both wear down to a woodsy note, though Tainted Love is much less assertive. Tainted Love begins with a spray of white florals with a hint of Bourbon vanilla. The vanilla is rich and smooth, not sweet or sugary. What emerges after some time passes is a lovely light sandalwood fragrance, overlaid by the orchid. There’s a hint of musk here too that reminds me of Crazylibellule and the Poppies Shanghaijava Musc and Patchouli. I love sandalwood and musk, so this is a winner for me. I found that Tainted Love faded to a very close scent after two or three hours, and was undetectable after four hours, so you may need to reapply. After trying out this sample for a few days, I plan on purchasing the bottle.

A Many-Splintered Thing

Posted in beauty, Books, Etsy, Jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by vprime

I’ll refrain from the obvious Joy Division reference for this Valentine’s Day post. Instead I’ll just borrow a bad pun from Mr. Eldritch. Valentine’s day is an orgy of romantic stereotypes, waxy chocolates and unfelt sentiments. And substituting Lupercalia is already played out. Yeah, if I didn’t look at this holiday with a jaundiced eye, you’d worry. Sometimes I celebrate it, sometimes not, depending on how depleted I feel. I do have plans that I am looking forward to this year, but I’m equally satisfied by staying home and watching a movie. Nonetheless, I do have recommendations should you need dark offerings for that special someone you’ve been cyberstalking.

Hedonist Necklace by Bellalili

This necklace by Bellalili manages to be tough and refined at once. Bellalili’s items combine ornate metal forms with brilliant crystals. I would wear this with anything from a plain black v-neck shirt to a ruffled blouse. It’s big enough to be noticed without crying out for attention. I regularly spy lovelies in Bellalili’s Etsy shop that I admire. Visit Bellalili’s Etsy shop.

Tokyo Milk Tainted Love

Don’t touch me please I cannot stand the way you tease. Tokyo Milk’s Tainted Love has a little less Marc Almond and more vanilla, orchid, white tea and sandalwood. I have Tokyo Milk’s Dead Sexy and wear it often. I haven’t smelled this yet, but it sounds promising. Anything that combines sandalwood and tea is compelling to me. Vanilla is a tricky fragrance note. I can’t stand it in an overly sugary iteration. I’m not sure what has driven the rise of bath and body products that smell like cans of frosting, but that’s the sort of vanilla I avoid. As long as there’s something to dirty up the vanilla a bit, I’m willing to try it. If you haven’t yet smelled the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Snake Oil, do make sure to sniff this magical and delicious combination of vanilla and patchouli. My hope is that Tainted Love mixes a greenish sandalwood with the fresh tea note and the vanilla is warm and complex rather than sweet. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s tried Tainted Love and can describe it a bit.  Visit Tokyo Milk.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”
– Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. This new Penguin Classics hardcover has a gorgeous cover worthy of the decadent tale within. This black and white volume would look elegant on your shelf or table. Books are the best gifts ever, in my mind; and even better if the book is beautiful to look at. I am now reading Huysmans’ A Rebours which is the book that turns Dorian from a sweet boy into a lovely monster. To give your love an interesting reading experience, pair this with the highly underrated Dorian by Will Self.  Buy books at

That concludes my Valentine’s suggestions. No flowers, candy or stuffed animals. These gifts are appropriate whether the object of your desire is male, female or other.

Until next time.

On Pale Skin

Posted in beauty on January 27, 2011 by vprime

We all learned in Women’s Studies classes that the dominant beauty norms are exclusionary and repressive. Can it be any surprise that subcultures can form their own equally exclusionary beauty ideals? Though often goth positions itself as a shadow of the dominant beauty–a negative image of what is meant to be desirable, it still retains the underlying paradigms of the mainstream. No matter how far one attempts to stray from the mainstream, nothing trumps young, thin, symmetrical and smooth. Goth forms an interesting paradox in its elevation of pallor to its beauty pantheon. Pale skin is a reaction in opposition to what the mainstream considers beautiful. Pale skin is also a reinstatement of historical signifiers of status. In this post, I wish to explore the troubled meaning of pale skin.

One look at Sargent’s portrait of Madame X shows the cold allure of white skin swathed in dark clothing. Her shoulders nearly glow white. Her skin is like marble. One imagines those hands icy to the touch. Pale skin makes dark hair and clothing seem deeper. In winter, everyone swaddled in black tends to look a bit goth as the chill chases the blood from their faces. Light skin has been revered in the past as a sign that its bearer could afford to stay indoors, letting someone else dig up the food they ate. Is it the connection with those aristocrats–who, after all, were the aesthetes–that makes pale skin attractive to a movement that prizes images of the past and appreciation of melancholy art? Perhaps. I suspect the connection is to the figure of the romantic consumptive. Goth tends to draw from the Victorian era. Here is a  culture not so removed from ours as to be impractical, but invested in mourning, romanticizing loss and wearing elaborate black garments. Lizzie Siddal in widow’s weeds. The romantic consumptive has a hollow, pale face. He or she is young, doomed, and probably looks great coughing into a handkerchief of white linen bordered with black lace. Not the son or daughter of laborers, the ideal romantic consumptive has time to write poetry and ponder his or her impending mortality, all while safely guarded from sunlight by velvet curtains.

This brings me to the other meaning of pale skin: illness. Pale skin suits the sick child who can’t–or won’t–go  play outside with others. Cultivating pale skin is a protest against happy, healthy, tan American robustness. It says you’d rather look sick. An ironic aside here: I’m not white. Or at least, not entirely. The reality is that there are plenty of goths who’ll never have pale skin. That doesn’t make them any less goth. That much is obvious. But there’s no denying that the ideal image of the goth is of a person who’s worked hard to stay out of the sun. With the same ethic that some people put into their tans, goths approach the regimen of sunscreen, long sleeves or parasols. Even those of us who will never be absolutely pale try to avoid the air of wholesome outdoorsiness that sun-flushed cheeks give. In a Barbie world, we’d rather be Jane Eyres.

Bronzer, get thee behind me.