...in a brief period of delirium, there was a startling vogue of black lipstick and red eyeshadow. For a little while we were painting ourselves up just as arbitrarily as Larionov did before the Revolution. Dada in the boudoir! What a witty parody of the whole theory of cosmetics!
...those manic and desperate styles -- leapt on and exploited instantly by desperate manufacturers -- seemed to be about to break the ground for a whole new aesthetic of appearance, which would have nothing to do with the conformist ideology of "beauty" at all. Might -- ah, might -- it be possible to use cosmetics to free women from the burden of having to look beautiful altogether?
Because black lipstick and red eyeshadow never "beautified" anybody. They were the cosmetic equivalent of Duchamp's moustache on the Mona Lisa. They were cosmetics used as satire on cosmetics, on the arbitrary convention that puts blue on eyelids and pink on lips. Why not the other way round? The best part of the joke was that the look itself was utterly monstrous. It instantly converted the most beautiful women into outrageous grotesques; every face a work of anti-art.
I enjoyed it very, very much.
However, it takes a helluva lot of guts to maintain oneself in a perpetual state of visual offensiveness. Most women could not resist keeping open a treacherous little corner on sex appeal. Besides, the joke went a little too near the bone. To do up your eyes so that they look like self-inflicted wounds is to wear on your face the evidence of the violence your environment inflicts on you.