For a woman living in Brazil, a proper manicure- pedicure may be more important than lipstick ~ well groomed hands are a social calling card akin to the language of fans in the 18th century.'My hands are my face' declared the aristocratic British poetess Edith Sitwell in 1937. She would fit right into 21st century Brazilian style. Her hands were always perfectly manicured and adorned with a large rings. Edith Sitwell's archives contain receipts from Peggy Sage, one of the first luxury nail salons that pampered the hands of fashionable women in London, Paris and New York in the 1920's. Diana Vreeland, legendary editor of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue (and muse for this blog) had her signature nails lacquered a vivid red once a week. Instrumental in promoting Charles Revlon's invention of glossy long-lasting polish, she enjoyed the mesmerizing process of watching a little brush stroke red lacquer across the surface of her nails.
Fingernails covered in a glossy coat of color send a message to the world about social rank, professional status and even spiritual state. For many women here, a manicure and a pedicure is an essential beauty ritual that must occur at least once a week. Some Brazilian women I know have confessed to changing their nail polish color not once but sometimes twice or three times a week. Brazil has over over 500 blogs about nail polish. The color chosen is the secret weapon of the wearer. Armed with a French manicure and a huge ring, or signally to the world that you are privileged enough to do
n-o-t-h-i-n-g with nails lacquered in a chinoiserie red, is almost as good as stepping out of a bullet proof car.
Nearly every nail polish name is about seduction. With so many variations of red, is choice really about the shade of red or is it about the suggestive power of the name?
During a moment of stillness while waiting for the polish to dry… the name of the polish becomes poetry~ looking at the tiny color field on the nail bed becomes art ~ and the possibilities suggested by the color & the polish name gives every woman a chance to experience fashion at it's best…. as a essence.