I went to a strict, but fantastic, girls school in suburban London. Makeup verboten! But try stopping teenage girls of the ’80’s from experimenting with makeup. Impossible. The mascara would go on on the way to school. And you’d be in trouble if any teacher noticed you wearing it. But everyone needs mascara, right? I still feel that way, it would be my desert island necessity (along with a an enormous pair of sunglasses and loads of sunscreen). I feel blessed to have grown up in a time in London when inspiration was incredible and all around me, and though makeup wasn’t in any way the most important thing about my life, it became a pretty great aspect of it as I grew up.
My real adventures in makeup started before my teenage years ….and I would have to say my first significant makeup moment was on a Thursday in 1979 when something quite amazing happened. Thursday was Top Of The Pops night, and you just couldn’t miss it, it was brilliant and most importantly, you had to know who was going to be Number One in the pop charts; this was something to really look forward to, believe me!
So on this Thursday night, a vibrant, unbelievably gorgeously urbane girl appeared on the screen. The incomparable Debbie Harry and Blondie. She was not perfect, but beautiful and so unlike any of those Hollywood stars because she appeared to be real, which meant her look was attainable, to me and my friends. She blew our minds. And led to my first cosmetics must-have. A red roller-ball lipgloss. Readers, I nicked it, not because that was my usual behaviour but because we didn’t have much money and I didn’t get pocket money, but I had to have that lipgloss. Do not try this at home. I got caught, which to this day I am grateful for, and into enormous trouble.
The lipgloss was not allowed at school or even at home but I did wear it secretly whilst dancing round my room to “Heart of Glass”. And so it began. Not the shoplifting, which I never tried again, but my love of makeup and all it could do.