You know my feelings on Isabella Rossellini's series Green Porno. (The most important film project of our time!) I was thrilled to read that new episodes are coming. This season, we can expect to see one of the world's most classic and pedigreed beauties demonstrating the mating habits of such marine creatures as the starfish, the anchovy and the barnacle (insert your own ex-boyfriend joke here, people). So you can imagine my delight when I found this early prototype in the Playboy archives!
These are from a December 1970 pictorial called The Lass Menagerie. Clever, no? Well, weird at least, and arty. Qualities sadly lacking in many of today's photos of naked ladies. These should adorn my walls.
Giraffe Girl is like something out of The Lion King. Crafty, flexible readers can try this at home with justa ladder, some body paint, and the head of a hobby horse. Please write and let me know how it goes.
The blackbird is my personal favorite: sexy stockings, feathered bustle, and a grumpy expression on the bird's beak. Isabella, may I suggest Season Three: The Birds?
Playboy has put a bunch of their archives online. (You'll have to download Microsoft Silverlight to view them. Don't resist the software. It made for great browsing.)
This is a cover from May 1971 and it's a lot artier than the covers of today. I especially like the shot of the hand. Is she signing something?
I hit the jackpot with the first issue I chose to go through. Like most Americans, I love the fantasy of suburban key parties and the Cheever-esque despair that follows. (It's only an aesthetic thing; please don't invite me to your little get together.) This article about a house in the Illinois suburbs, described as, "a live-in adult toy," is the very archetype.
I zoomed in for a closeup from a panoramic party shot to call your attention to two things: the glossy, naked-lady statue, casually leaning by the couch, and perhaps more importantly, the red, quilted maxi-skirt and matching jacket on the woman at right. These wacky 70s adults may have misunderstood the invitation. Polly Bergen clarifies and explains correct dress code in her 1977 book I'd Love to But What Do I Wear?:
"Please Come To Our Little Den of Iniquity:
If you're invited for a group swing, don't immediately reach for your petticoats and your square-dancing skirt, Nowadays such events rarely have a caller, and your petticoats would be sure to get in the way (not to mention the lace bodice!)...
Since this book should serve as a dressing guide to the modern woman in all likely (and unlikely) circumstances, I'd like to pass on a few pointers:
Don't wear anything that binds or leaves marks on the body. It's very unattractive.
Omit stockings and underwear if possible. Not only do they leave marks on the body when they come off-- they're also likely to get in your way and be unnecessarily cumbersome.
Wear sexy clothes. They should be very body conscious (like the guests) and should emphasize your best features. Whatever clings is fine. This is a perfect occasion to wear any see-through garments you own, though even in this situation the see-through blouse should not merely be a soft windowpane, but should rather be suggestive. If everything's laid out for inspection, some people will stay with the window shopping and never come in.
Sew name tags on all articles of personal property-- it's easier to reclaim them afterward."
Do any of you know someone in New York who is skilled in creating vintage roller sets? If you do, please e-mail me or leave a comment. I'd love to have someone set my hair in decade-specific ways for parties. I have lots of tools, and guides, but lack knack. Before I knew how to properly blow my hair out straight, I sometimes set it on giant rollers and and dried it under the hood dryer that yes, I actually own. That is pretty simple, but I want to learn how to do fancy things with smaller rollers.
Winter's almost over and I'm pale as a forepined ghost. Today let's take a little look at what ladies have done about this beauty dilemma over the years. We'll start with the poetic:
"Bright crimson silk dipped in spirits of wine and rubbed upon cheeks, chin, and ears is said to be a safe and harmless rouge that defies detection. It requires the skill of a portrait painter-- a deft touch with the fingers and a skillful eye-- to make up so that you impose upon even the most indifferent eye. And any makeup which is not discreetly and artistically managed is vulgar in the extreme."
Ella Adelia Fischer, The Woman Beautiful (1901)
I imagine that's how fairy tale heroines make up their faces. Now, let's proceed to the disturbing:
"A certain preparation advertised to produce rosy cheeks without the help of rouge consists of a powdered silicious sponge. Examined under a microscope, the preparation is seen to be made up of multitudes of tiny, silicious needles. These sharp spines stick into the skin, irritating it, this causing it to redden" Emma E. Walker, M.D., The Pretty Girl Papers (1910)
No matter how you go about getting the color, make sure you don't neglect any chalky nooks or crannies:
"Do you wear your hair in an up-sweep? Rouge your earlobes, by all means. Illness or too much dieting can sometimes make earlobes pale and waxy looking, which suggests ill health. A touch of pink and you’re not only glowing but your earrings, should you wear them, will be more dramatic."
Rita Gam The Beautiful Woman (1967)
Now let's pick the right shade; sometimes the correct choice proves counter-intuitive:
"If it's a healthy, glowing look you're after, buy proper cream or liquid rouge-- soft and easily spreadable impermanent tint in cream. The best shades are those muddy-salmon paste tones, not the sharp fuchsia tones that stand off the face shouting I'm Rouge."
Graeme Hall, Beauty for Girls (1970)
I'll let Ms. Arlene Dahl wrap this up with a line that I think of often:
"However you accent with rouge, do so lightly. Apply very little rouge in the morning, when your cheeks are inclined to be pale. Later, when activity brings a natural blush to your face, you can add a little more if you still need it. But remember the pathetic statement, 'Too much rouge is a sign of despair." Arlene Dahl, Always Ask A Man: Arlene Dahl's Key to Femininity (1967)