The power of glamour

I grew up in the 80s and, looking back, it’s really easy to see how I fell for glamour. After all, it was everywhere. Was there such a thing as a low key dressed down 80s look? If there was, I paid it no attention to it whatsoever because what I wanted was to be Dressed Up To The Max. By the time the decade ended and I was 15 years old I sadly still had no idea how to use make up or style my hair well, but I completely idolised women who looked like they had made a spectacular effort on their appearance.

Even as an adult, for a long while I couldn’t actually be bothered with that level of faff myself. In the 90s my only daily cosmetics use was black mascara, with anything more being reserved for parties and Halloween. Baby feminist Lori viewed the trappings of glamour as a tool of the patriarchy, and so used them sparingly, but I have since realised that they are actually more like armour for many of us who are fighting against it.

The old meaning of the word glamour speaks to enchantment and magic, and even modern definitions call to mind a sort of spell cast over the viewer. In many tales of vampires, they use a form of hypnosis to get humans to submit to them and sometimes, including in the HBO series True Blood, this is referred to as glamour. Glamour makes something unappealing seem desirable; makes the ordinary seem impossibly alluring. Distract them with your glamour and you can achieve so much more.

In the 1980s, glamour signified power; just think of Joan Collins as Alexis Colby in Dynasty, or Grace Jones as May Day in the Bond movie A View to a Kill. Every time Madonna reinvented her look, I was mesmerised once more. When Janet Jackson, wearing a gold lamé shirt and quite possibly the world’s biggest shoulder pads, asked her guy “what have you done for me lately?” I was hooked. Well executed glamour takes a lot of hard work, but it is achievable for anyone and so is rather democratic. You don’t have to fit society’s current standard of beauty when you can use the tricks of glamour to fake it.

In the late 80s I was also obsessed with Sara Stockbridge modelling for Vivienne Westwood. The glamour of the clothes hair and make up, combined with raucous party girl antics (on and off the runway) was a heady mix, and the perfect inspiration for an ordinary ‘good girl’ who always followed the rules. I think this is also why I was so taken with Disney’s Cruella. Glamour is used so perfectly for both Emma Stone and Emma Thompson’s characters that you continue to love them even when they’re behaving appallingly.

I visited Liberty last month to see some of the costumes from the movie on display and, after I left the building, I spotted a Cruella-themed window in the MAC store on Carnaby Street. It was so very tempting to grab a lipstick from their Disney Cruella Collection and try a bit of that glamour for myself but, instead, I’m going to leave it to the experts and get that vampy smokey eye and red lip at my photoshoot with Emerald Photography this weekend. Maybe I should pop into a vintage clothing shop and find something black with killer shoulder pads too?

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