The Rich Ladies Of Grey Gardens: A Bizarrely Glam Tutorial

Also, you need to know about this face powder.
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Olivia S.
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Also, you need to know about this face powder.

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I watched Grey Gardens (both documentary and film) the other week for the first time, and it was one of the best things I have ever seen. The 1975 documentary is an amazingly intimate look into the lives of two reclusive socialites: Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (Big Edie) and Edith Bouvier Beale (Little Edie), her daughter, the aunt and first cousin of Jackie O. The two of them lived in Grey Gardens, an East Hampton mansion, in increasing squalor and poverty and the documentary focuses on their 1975 lives, at their isolation and relationship and their constant harkening back to the glory years with terrifying poignancy.

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The 2009 film looks at their lives in a broader sense, exploring how they got to where they are, with exceptional likeness to their bizarre mannerisms and, DREW BARRYMORE plays Little Edie. I deeply love Drew Barrymore. I feel like she is my soul sister.

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They are two fascinating women living a deeply bizarre lifestyle. And Little Edie looks amazing, in a slightly scary way. Steven Meisel (one of my favorite fashion photographers) shot a cover story for Italian Vogue in 1999 that directly referenced the film in a beautifully directed exploration of Edie’s incredible fashion choices and I have decided to show you all how I have chosen to manifest her in my face. She does some weird stuff with eyeliner and, after she lost her hair, wore a fabulous selection of headscarves. Watch the movie. And then join my Little Edie fanclub.

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Firstly, I did a simple, matte base. I used Tarte's Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Concealer in fair, which is a medium-to-heavy stick, which blends with my super-white skin impeccably. Whilst it is heavier than my usual choices of concealer, it has a powdery application which means that it is incredibly easy to blend to an airbrush finish.

I'll be using MAC Brun Satin Eye shadow, Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Black, Chanel Rouge Allure in Passion and the Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Concealer in Fair. 

I'll be using MAC Brun Satin Eye shadow, Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Black, Chanel Rouge Allure in Passion and the Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Concealer in Fair. 

I then used the Tarte ‘The Buffer’ brush and MAC Studio Fix powder compact foundation all over my face. This brush is great for applying foundation--it has fairly stiff but flexible bamboo bristles which pick up enough powder foundation for even application and an airbrushed finish--the problem I find with using a blusher brush or sponge for powder foundations is that you end up picking up too little or too much and so it is hard to get evenness.

And the great thing about Studio Fix powder is that it is easily buildable, so I can use a lot more on my nose and cheeks and a lot less on my forehead without it caking: I gently apply layer by layer until I get an overall, even and velvety matte. My shade is NW20 but they have a wide range of shades and main, lettered variations for those with differing undertones. C signifies cool (for yellow or olive skin), NC is neutral cool (for golden and beige), N is neutral (beige skin), NW is neutral warm (for pink beige) and W is warm (pinkish tones). The easiest way to establish your skin tone? Look at your veins in natural light: if you have cool, pinker skin tone, you probably have bluer veins and if you have yellowy, warmer tones, they probably appear a little greener.

I left my skin there, because Little Edie doesn’t look like she does a lot of contouring. I went onto doing a plain base on my eyes, using Tarte’s Matte Bone shadow right up to my lids. This was impossible to swatch (I did actually use it just above the Brun shadow, but you can’t see it at all) because it is a perfect blend onto my skin, but it is a light, beigey powder which applies loosely and evenly. Winner. I’m all about Tarte at the moment, can you tell? (P.S. no sponsorship)

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Edie also does this really weird but cool heavy-lidded double eyeliner. I used MAC’s Brun Satin eyeshadow (which sometimes I use for my eyebrows, too, it is a really great, matte, flat brown) and a large, flat eyeshadow brush to draw a thiiick, powdery line onto just above my lashline, going all the way from corner to corner.

I then traced a thick lashline in black using Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner, which I’ve been harping on about for a while. It doesn’t smudge, guys. And it comes with this little brush which is pointy on one end (ideal for toplining) and a flat brush on the other end (ideal for tightlining and blending). I drew this black line with the pointy end of the brush to a flat catseye either side, but instead of tapering to a point, I finished in a square-ish fashion so it didn’t look as sexy as a catseye.

There’s something about a flat-ended eyeliner that is kind of jarring, but in a sort of fabulous way, and I’m really into slightly imperfect makeup in situations like this. I did my eyebrows a little heavier than usual (don’t fear, specific tutorial is finally coming up) and left my lashes bare. Again, I feel like the bare lashes with the heavy eyeliner looks a little bizarre but in a cool way. That’s definitely Edie’s vibe. Bizarre but great.

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I then moved onto my lips. I feel like there’s only one brand that Edie would be down with using on her mouth, and that’s Chanel. Plus, their lipstick packaging is as old-school glamor as packaging can get. I used their Rouge Allure in Passion, straight from the tube, with no liner because hey, if it smudges… bizarre but cool!

I deeply love Chanel lipstick because, besides fabulous packaging, it is intensely moisturizing and pigment-heavy. I’m having a vast resurgence in love for Chanel makeup at the moment, purely because they’ve upped their pigment game and so their colors are vibrant and long-lasting.

Finally, in the theme of old-school glamour, I covered myself in Acqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile. This is a new interpretation of Acqua di Parma’s classic vibes (they’ve been high society perfumiers since around 1910), with a strong Iris bouquet and basenotes of orange blossom, cedar flower, vanilla and ambrette. It is deep and velvety, rich and dramatic and the perfect summery, glamorous scent for Edie vibes.

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I then wrapped a black pashmina around my head and hung out in my garden, smoking and listening to Billie Holiday records because I feel like that was all that I could do when, quite frankly, I looked as weirdly chic as a 20th Century Hamptons Socialite.

Has anyone else seen Grey Gardens and fallen as deeply in love with Edie as I did? Also: how great is Drew Barrymore? Do I look utterly mental or are you kind of down with it? I am definitely incorporating double-eyeliner into my daily life. Plus: did these swatches and more detailed photographs help? I really appreciated the time you guys spent giving feedback: this is a site for y’all, not just for me to mess about with different lipsticks, so let me know!