My friend Emily served as a gracious Vampid model to show off a look inspired by Queen Elizabeth I’s Rainbow Portrait. Knowing that Emily studies early modern literature, I suggested the Virgin Queen as the source of inspiration for a look we could curate, and we both agreed that the autumnal colors in her famous rainbow dress would be perfect.
Emily kindly gives us a “micro-lecture” on the portrait and the look it inspired:
The highly symbolic Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, attributed to Isaac Oliver, was painted around 1600 when Elizabeth was in her 60s, though you’d never know it from the youthful visage she has in the painting. As the “eternal virgin” queen of England, it was important to maintain the image of her youthfulness. She wears pearls, a symbol of virginity, and if you look closely at her dress, you will see that it is covered with a pattern of eyes and ears (the queen sees and hears all!). Unfortunately, I don’t own any garments of clothing printed with body parts, but we did take inspiration from this quirky dress by playing up my eyes in golden tones similar to the shades of this portrait, and I adopted her long strand of pearls to complete the ensemble. Perhaps we can also take inspiration from Elizabeth I’s resistance to the many marriage matches suggested for her, and her insistence that she would rule England alone as its virgin queen. Now I just need to find a country to rule so my family will stop pressuring me to settle down!
For Emily’s look we used (from right to left):
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil 621A Pure Gold
NYX Slide On Eye Pencil SL16 Golden Bronze
Madison Street Beauty Desert Sands Eye Shadow #63
Madison Street Beauty Peony Blush
Madison Street Beauty Marigold Blush
Urban Decay Slowburn mixed with Buck
Clinique Glow Bronze Lipstick
First I outlined all around Emily’s eye, connecting the inner and outer corners, with the gold NYX pen. Then I applied UD’s half-baked over the liner. I then layered MSB Marigold blush (used as an eye shadow) above the gold shadow, going into Emily’s eye crease. Above the marigold, I blended a line of MSG Pure Gold—creating a gold-orange-gold rainbow on Emily’s eyes.
To get a smoky cat eye effect, I mixed UD’s Slowburn bright orange shadow with the matte brown Buck and blended at the outer end of the “rainbow” I created. Next I lined her bottom lid with the NYX bronze eyeliner, giving the look a little more depth and edge.
We kept her face simple, using a mix of her foundations—Clinique Even Better and No7 Instant Radiance. MSB pink Peony blush subtly brightens Emily’s cheeks. Very little contouring was necessary, especially because we wanted to feature, not hide, Emily’s high forehead. In the Queen’s time, women plucked their hairlines to get a prominent forehead. In our time, Emily gives the look a beautiful modern spin.
For our final touches, I had Emily do a quick lip scrub with a bit of honey and sugar (it’s fall and lips are starting to chap!) before she put on a demure nude lipstick. I made up this lip scrub on the spot, having never tried it on myself before, and it seemed to work well. As a pure sugar lip solution, Emily attests to its deliciousness too. Last, with three coats of Laura Mercier’s volumizing mascara, we were done!
Note on Madison Street Beauty products: a few weeks ago I posted about their going out of business sale. I don’t know if they are still having their sale or not, but this could be your last chance to get some of the colors you see here. Their makeup is light on the skin and offers rich, shimmery mineral pigments. The blush, however, is not too colorful—which is good if you have light skin and don’t want your blush to look too colorful.