Red - Rojo - Carmesí - Crimson - Colorado
Thursday, January 26, 2017
This blog is about the colour red and in particular about
red lips. It will meander. Right off the bat when I posted it, Canadian Poet George Bowering
". Of course he is right. In Spanish it means red wine.
In March I am taking my wife and granddaughter Lauren, 14,
to Buenos Aires. I firmly believe that Lauren’s ability to read music (she is
studying the violin and the clarinet) plus she dances at Arts Umbrella (all by
her choice and not by parental pressure) puts her at an advantage in our
increasingly strange times.
To me just being able to read music opens some spot in her
brain that makes her think differently and with a better scope on reality.
Unfortunately she did not do well in French at school so she
speaks only one language. But now she suddenly has an interest in her grandfather’s
Spanish and is busy with Rosetta Stone on the computer.
How the above will somehow lead into this blog about red
lips might tempt those who are reading at this point to trust me that it just
might be worthwhile.
If Lauren were here in my oficina now I would tell her that
in English you have the colour red and if you are ever so sophisticated you
might know of the word carmine, or the French Rouge. I do recall that favourite
film of mine, The Crimson Pirate and
that some of my red roses are described as being crimson. In Spanish we have the
same words for those colours. There is rojo and there is colorado. My Argentine
compatriots consider rojo to be low class and only use colorado! And there is carmesí (crimson) and carmin.
Just citing poetry would give you a many more chances of
rhyming in Spanish or in English if you
were thinking of the colour red.
My mother liked to use bright red lipstick. I recall that
her choice was Revlon. My preference for and delight of bright red lips has to have come
I noticed red lips (which confirmed my choice) on the cover
of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Jazz Red
Hot and Cool in the early 60s. The
cover is a beautiful photograph taken by Richard Avedon. Somehow I was told by
someone that the model on the cover was wearing a lipstick called Jazz Red Hot
& Cool. I have confirmed that in my Wikipedia:
The cover photograph used for this record was taken by
Richard Avedon at hungry i nightclub
in San Francisco and was done in partnership with the Helena Rubinstein
cosmetics company. It took its title from a new shade of lipstick Rubinstein
introduced in the late 1954. According to the liner notes by Brubeck’s long
time producer George Avakian, while the cosmetics company launched an advertising
campaign in major fashion magazines in different full-page advertisements, the
ladies who bought the lipstick also got a copy of Jazz Combo Tool; a small
Columbia six inch, red-orange vinyl record in 78 rpm speed which included
excerpts from Eddie Condon and Turk Murphy on its Jazz Combo Hot side, and Pete
Rugolo and Brubeck on its Jazz Combo Cool side.
Ever since that cover I have looked out for women who use
red lipstick. Alas the one woman who had the reddest and juiciest lips I ever
saw, Madeleine Morris I photographed mostly in black and white except for a few
of which you can see here.!
Red lips are hardly ever subtle but I eschew those
photographs of tacky boudoir where the photographer has lipstick and nails to
match, perhaps with added red pumps. Red cannot shock (as it should) if it is
so evident. Look at the pictures here and decide.