Thursday, 8 September 2011

Anita Berber / Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless inspired FOTD

Anita Berber first came to my attention during the second year of my A-level in Art (when I was 17). I was studying Otto Dix for my contextual folder and his portrait of this Weimar-era dancer, writer, actor and prostitute really inspired me. He is my favourite German expressionist to this day and this is one of his most captivating paintings. Detail of the work is shown below. (I also really love his Portrait of the journalist Sylvia Von Harden which I managed to stumble on at the Pompidou centre when I was 19.)

But I digress, I find Anita interesting in a similar way as I find Marchesa Luisa Casati interesting; even all that time ago they looked so modern. Red hair, copious amounts of stage make-up, tight fitting dresses... sigh. I also dig her monocle (ha). She died before she was 30, after giving up her addictions to cocaine and alcohol, when she caught TB. A sort of 1920s Amy Winehouse, if you like. She also looks like Helena Bonham-Carter in the above nudey-monocle photo, so what, I ask, is not to love?

I'm pretty sure the red haired model in Alex Box's promo shots for the A/W 2011 Illamasqua collection Theatre of the Nameless is inspired by Berber, as their new deep red pigment is named for her. I love that.

This led me to have another little play with make-up today and will share the results below.

I used black, grey and white eyeshadows (all matte) as well as contour/highlight for my cheeks, a tiny bit of pink blush, MAC lipliner in Cherry and Sleek Pout Paints in Pin-Up and Peek-a-bloo for a dark red lip. I used copious amounts of concealer around my mouth to get her signature lip shape, and may have smudged the red into it because well... it was my first time! I cannot edit photos for shit so there you go. I used black eyeshadow to really darken and elongate the brows and my new favourite Skinbase foundation in colour 07. E.L.F dramatic false lashes in Black completed the look.

Another completely unwearable face of the day - well, possibly to a theme night or with fuller lip shape.  Lipshapes in general are high up on my mental-list of what I need to practice.

 Thanks for looking,
Ruth xx
ps Yes, I am wearing a completely inappropriate yellow jumper. It's so cosy, and it was only 50p. Yessssss.


  1. such an interesting post! And anita berber is so cool, and that red portrait was so unsymmetrically awesome! The colour of your lips was nothing more than fantastic I must say, and to play with contouring and highlighting is always fun!

  2. A yellow jumper is never inappropriate!

  3. Love this look, the lips look great. I'm really inspired by the 1920's too :)

  4. Love this non-conventional inspiration, so thank you for exposing me to her (and her to me, badum-chhh) I'm going to be doing some wiki-ing for sure. Your brows are EVERYTHING in this look. Flawfree.

  5. That lip colour is divine on you. :)

  6. Ah I love Otto Dix and expressionism in general :) You look great, I love the eyebrows!

  7. :) Lip fail but brow win woop. Thanks ladies!

  8. I say hurray for completely inappropriate 50p yellow jumpers! And GREAT make-up as always!