Cool Collaboration: Charlotte Tilbury and Norman Parkinson
The photograph on this compact by Norman Parkinson is of the model Wenda Parkinson, his wife and muse. They were introduced, incidentally, by Cecil Beaton. It was taken on Pigeon Point, Tobago in May 1956. There is something about it that reminds me of the first location shoot I ever did, as an assistant to the journalist, Kate Shapland. It was in Bora Bora in the South Pacific.
I remember being mesmerised by the place, its Gauguin-esque men and women, that was when I first understood him, a revelation. And I remember one series of photographs that we took on Moorea, near Bora Bora, where the palms grew on the water’s side horizontally towards the ocean. We dressed our model in the more sporty, pared-down bathing suits of the 90s – Erès in soft lime green and sky blue – similar to the palette here but as I say, without the bodiced structure of the 50s.
The image also sits on top of a compact from a new collection of cosmetics from Charlotte Tilbury. (If you haven’t yet discovered her you haven’t lived. Get yourself to Selfridges with haste. Pick one of the inspiration looks from the line-up of photos. Get them to do it for you and I promise you, you will be sorely tempted to buy the lot.) The collection is decorated with a handful of his most memorable photographs, and textures are inspired by Parkinson’s use of light. This compact is a sheer, coral, cream blusher that gives your cheeks a dewy, youthful, flattering bill of health.
As Charlotte told me at her launch the other day, she was approached by Norman Parkinson’s grandson, Jake who is a friend with the idea of a collaboration. She’s inundated I’ve heard – but this was different. She had Instagram’d a photograph of Audrey Hepburn (Audrey Hepburn and Bougainvillea, Rome 1955) some months ago. It generated lots of approval and helped to confirm the photographer’s continued appeal. The resulting limited edition summer collection is fabulous and eminently collectable.
There is a make-up bag with the iconic image of Jerry Hall, telephone receiver tucked into blue rubber swimming cap. (Glamorous on few but Hall). It was for the May 1975 British Vogue cover.
And here’s a thought, I wonder if Grace Coddington (fashion director at US Vogue) would ever have imagined it: a sponge bag featuring the image of Jerry Hall she had styled when a fashion editor at British Vogue in the mid-70s. Or the above one for that matter, or its corresponding compact (Film Star Bronze & Glow, £55) half bronzing cream, half highlighting cream), she styled that one too. Picture the picture. Hall in scarlett bathing suit, swim cap and heels standing on a classical plinth in the sea poised to dive. I think it would also double up nicely as an evening bag on holiday. Here’s the photo: Jerry Hall, Russia, 1975.
There is a scarlett lipstick, 1975 Red. ‘It’s that orangey, coral red that looks fabulous with a tan in summer and is very ‘70s,’ says Tilbury. The colour is beautiful – it feels like a proper lipstick to apply (glides on without being slippery) and it gives a matte but flattering finish. There is also a divine nude, Miss Kensington, ‘a pinky, peachy, nudy colour that suits everyone,’ she says.
Dreamy Glow (£45) is a highlighting powder. Its case shows a photograph from 1959 of model, Carmen dell’Orefice, for a Vogue cover. The Bahamas was the location. My question, who is the safari jacket by? It must be pre-Yves Saint Laurent who made his first in 1968.
So, the effect of this powder? Light. One of the reasons why Tilbury first Instagram’d that Irving Penn photograph. And why photographers from Mario Testino to fairytale-Vogue-fashion-photographer Tim Walker have been inspired by him – for his way with light. Hearing a description of the light effect of this powder I am won: ‘It’s a softer, more ambient lighting effect,’ she says. ‘It does that light-diffusing thing that Parkinson did, capturing a dreamy light on the skin.’
Available at Selfridges and charlottetilbury.com from July and NetAPorter.com, Fenwicks, Brown Thomas Dublin and Harvey Nichols Leeds from August.