This week on Colour me Friday, a mash-up of a couple of my favourite things – books and beauty products. But while Penguin Orange Classics are pretty much universally loved, the same definitely can’t be said about orange lipstick!
Back in the 1930’s, Penguin Books changed the face of publishing by producing quality paperbacks for sixpence. One of Penguin’s strategies was to use a simple colour scheme for their book covers so that readers could quickly identify the genre of the book – green for crime novels; pink for travel and adventure; dark blue for biographies; red for drama; purple for essays; and yellow for books which did not fit into any of those genres. The most well-known was, of course, orange for fiction. My humble Penguin Orange collection started last year after I was inspired by a feature in an interiors magazine on how to artfully display books. Slightly contrived maybe, but actually quite satisfying.
I now collect random orange penguins whenever I come across one I like – often from fleamarkets and the amazing Barter Books, Morpeth, Northumberland. I cheat slightly in that the orange-spined penguins, whilst strictly speaking not the original orange classics, look great when mixed in with the old originals. My favourite is “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” by 1960’s American essayist Joan Didion.
If you haven’t read any of her books or essays, you may know her as the 80-year-old poster girl for Celine’s recent ad campaign. She is simply one of the smartest and coolest writers (and women) I’ve ever come across. I studied “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” at college and her essays on the sometimes twisted reality of the American Dream in the 60’s had a profound effect on me. In the spirited and confident style of Joan Didion and Celine (be who you want to be; be confident in your choices), here are some bold orange beauty ideas to try.