The February issue of Vogue lands on the doormat with a huge thump and it’s a corker. It boasts a fascinating tribute to the painter Lucian Freud by friends and acquaintances and a report on what happened when 17 Vogue editors met in Tokyo. But the most enthralling piece of all is an interview with Stella McCartney, who comes across as engaging, family-minded and refreshingly down-to-earth.
One of the most endearing and surprising revelations (considering she’s one of our top fashion designers) is that she isn’t in the least bit interested in make-up. As interviewer Christa D’Souza observes: “To prove it, she brings out a tatty black vinyl make-up bag meagrely filled with a few stubby pencils – so old, she triumphantly points out, ‘you can’t even read who they’re by… My mum only ever used an eye pencil. I tell you, the older I get, the more I seem to be turning into her.’”
I always feel that along with gardening and crosswords, make-up is one of those things that I should have mastered by now. My make-up bag consists of five lipsticks (all virtually the same shade), none of which I use, some ancient Bobbi Brown eye shadow, a blunt Chantecaille eye pencil I’ve lost the sharpener for and some Eve Lom lip gloss, but I haven’t quite got the hang of any of it.
For three months, after a scary eye operation, I didn’t wear any eye make-up at all because I was too nervous to put anything near my eyelids. Admittedly, as I ventured out bare-faced, I didn’t feel quite myself. I was so self-conscious about my pale lids and unadorned lashes that I asked my daughter about 100 times a day “do I look mad?” “No more mad than usual,” she’d say briskly. “And can you PLEASE stop going on about it?”
Actually, I think my daughter has got applying make-up down to a fine art. Her two lovely flatmates are brilliant at it and when she goes out they do her face, blow-dry her hair and paint her nails. Wow. I wonder what they’d say to an extra flatmate?