Post by CM
What do you think of when you see the word nude? Busty ladies performing burlesque perhaps? Masterful paintings of women reclining on velvet chaises longues maybe? Not me! I think of TIGHTS! And SHOES!
I love me a pair of nude tights, a fact that has long been established. I would (and have) worn them in the height of summer underneath shorts to conceal my pasty blue skin. Pain is beauty, right? So is prickly heat, in my experience. But when you do have blue legs like me nude is never really nude is it? Gone are my scratchy granny tights picked up in random service stations, leaving my bottom half strong-tea coloured and the top alabaster, but most of the time the ‘Sunkissed’ or ‘Natural Tan’ shades are the only options available to a pale gal like me. And there are none at all readily available for women of colour.
Nude as a colour in the style world is that odd beige hue made famous by Kate Middleton’s shoe of choice in her early engagements as a fully fledged royal. You know the one. Countless women (yours truly included) snapped up similar pairs in droves, thanks to the promise of leg lengthening and easy pairing with a vast array of outfits. But these shoes of nude really were a misnomer, seeing as there’s a huge variety of women out there whose skin tone comes nowhere close to that one.
Luckily Christian Louboutin has taken note, following the launch of his nude collection in 2013. Originally in 4 shades (in varying degrees of beige) he realised that this was too limited:
“It was the blunt statement, “beige is not the colour of my skin,” echoed by a team member that prompted him to transform Nudes from a colour to a concept.
“I have clients from every continent and want to make them happy!” Christian said. So, using his studio team as guinea pigs, Christian created five different hues inspired by their skin tones.”*
If nothing else this is surely a step in the right direction, of recognising that not only does beauty come in all shapes and sizes, but skin tones too. Ireland is becoming a much more multi-cultural society than it ever has been before, and people of all races need to be catered for. It’s heartening to see makeup brands expanding their foundation range (and making them available here), and L’Oreal’s nude lipstick campaign recognised that ‘nude’ is far more than just one shade fits all.
My experience with trying to match orange foundation to my sometimes pink/oftentimes grey neck, or grappling with too dark tights is annoying, but not as frustrating as it must be for women with darker skin tones whose options are far fewer. Hopefully things are improving, and that now when one thinks of the word nude a whole rainbow of shades enters one’s mind. That, or busty broads. Whatever floats your boat.