I have always had a fascination with women who wear bold red lipstick without looking tacky. Wearers of bold red lips are often also wearers of confidence and fearlessness that is at the same time inviting as it is austere. Few things can both ward off unwarranted attention and intrigue so much that a closer inspection is desired. The balance is important. Strength and Feminity. Intuition and Precision. Ambition and Sobriety. All of these elements in perfect balance are trademarks of extraordinary women. Women who rose from obscurity to pave their way in an antagonistic world. Women who boldly wear a shade of rouge.
Jackie Burger of Elle fame lets her flaxen hair and natural complexion serve as backdrop for her ruby reds. She became editor of this popular South African fashion magazine in 2006 and her illustrious career in fashion is all but finished. Jackie’s many accolades in this pulsing industry casts a large shadow over her humble beginnings, but there’s no denying the fact that she was not always as iconic as she is today. Jackie, quite modestly, started out in retail as brand manager for Foschini and eventually made her way to earning awards like the Gold Loerie for creative excellence in 2005.
Karen Roos, iconic in her own right, is another jewel of South Africa. She used to be editor for Elle Décor, winner of the 2009 Pica Award for Best Décor Magazine. Besides authoring numerous books on South African décor, Karen has also co-hosted a local television show of the same nature. Karen’s humble beginnings are attested to by the fact thatshe only got her big break ten years after completing a rather average BA degree. That big break was the position of fashion editor for Glamour magazine in New York.
Trend forecasting was a foreign concept to me until Li Edelkoort’s red lips caught my attention. This Dutch-born mistress of all things futuristic has been named one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential people in fashion. Her ability to predict trends and not just spot them makes her one of the most sought-after researchers in every branch of industry. The miniscule, almost negligible detail that puts her in the same inspiring category as our local stars, is the fact that Li started her career as a buyer for a department store in the Netherlands.
In light of these inspirational accounts how can I not be roused to don some rouge? Who knows, iconic status may still be out of reach, but my red lipstick sure isn’t. Suffice it to say, “It has been done before.”