Where I grew up in the Rockies, we had one dominant type of tree, the ponderosa pine. These trees are very tall and beautiful, and they hold a magnetic pull over anyone who grew up with them. However, they result in a decidedly coniferous seasonal experience. Jumping into a pile of dead brown needles raked onto your front lawn is rather poky.
When I went to college in New England, I was looking forward to the classic multicolor autumn from children’s books. Actually, it was just so incredibly cold that I spent the whole season smearing Vaseline on my nose and hiding inside the dorms. Plus, I had to get a puffy coat, an abomination I had hoped to avoid in my lifetime.
Now I live in southwestern France, and I’m having a Goldilocks moment with the fall season. It is so perfect here right now. The sycamore trees are too pretty, and the weather is genuinely crisp without being too cold for a wool coat. I’m spending my Sunday afternoons in the mountains collecting mushrooms, for God’s sake. It’s too cute and picturesque.
One of the things I love the most is our local covered market, on the same square since Gallic-Roman times. There are so many gorgeous fruits and vegetables that taste even better than they look. The colors of the produce are one of the best visual treats of autumn in the Pyrenees.
I love colors that exist in nature. There is an extraordinary complexity in the appearance of something that grew out of the ground, with all its splotchiness and imperfection. This complexity extends to the world of makeup and the colors we choose; colors from nature seem remarkably well-adapted to expressing the complexity of human emotions.
Here is my favorite trick for seasonal lip color: I look to nature. This time, however, I use my sense of taste instead of my eyes. The flavors from the fruits and vegetables at the market help me choose a color that suits my mood of the season.
In spring we have tiny green vegetables and citrus fruits. There is an astringency to the foods that have just pushed out of the ground without having yet seen much sun. I choose lip colors with a sour look to match the freshness and newness of springtime.
In summer, the fruits and vegetables are saturated with sunlight. They grow sweeter and redder right before harvest time. I choose sweet lip colors full of oranges and reds to match the fruits of the summertime.
Fall & Winter
In the fall after the harvest and into the winter, the only produce left are hardy foods and overripe fruits from the fall. Conserved produce like jam and fermented foods like wine have tannic, bitter flavors. I choose bitter-looking lip colors of plum and chocolate to match the produce of wintertime.
There’s just something about the winter that makes a girl feel fermented.
What’s fall like where you live? What kind of apples are you eating? And most importantly, are you wearing a puffy coat?